All-Star snub Tommy Hanson pitched like a man with a purpose for the Atlanta Braves Saturday, but it was the bullpen that had to hold strong again in extra innings. The Philadelphia Phillies sent Cliff Lee to the hill in yet another pitchers duel.
After suffering a walk-off loss Friday in 10 innings, Alex Gonzalez provided the go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 11th Saturday in an attempt to distance himself from a 5-for-50 slump.
Eric Hinske drew a lead-off walk off in the 11th off Michael Stutes, Jordan Schafer moved over pinch runner Wilkin Ramirez with a sacrifice bunt. Alex Gonzalez poppped up what should have been the second out into foul territory, but Ryan Howard dropped an attempted basket catch, which allowed Gonzalez to drive in Hinske two pitches later. Brian McCann then hit his 15th homer of the season to give the Braves their final 4-1 lead, which allowed Craig Kimbrel to work a perfect bottom half of the inning for his 28th save.
One wonders if the game had gone 11 innings if Hanson's seven innings had not been tarnished by a solo home run given up to Cliff Lee in the third inning. It was the only run he gave up and one of four hits surrendered on the way to striking out six. After he gave up the home run, he retired the next 10 Phillies.
Lee's only damage taken was on Dan Uggla's 15th home run of the year in the fifth. Otherwise, Lee threw eight innings and allowed only three hits and struck out nine Braves.
The win brings Atlanta back to within 2.5 games of the division lead.
Sunday's probables are Derek Lowe (5-4, 4.21 ERA) and Cole Hamels (10-4, 2.40 ERA).
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