After a tough loss to the Atlanta Braves Saturday night, the Philadelphia Phillies were out to make a statement in the last game before the All Star break.
Behind a stellar pitching performance by Cole Hamels and an offensive onslaught, the Phillies beat the Braves 14-1 Sunday afternoon. Hamels pitched eight strong innings, giving up only one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts.
Derek Lowe’s outing was not as memorable. After Julio Lugo’s RBI groundout gave the Braves a one run lead in the second inning, Lowe relinquished the lead and gave up four runs on ten hits in six innings of work. He struggled mightily in the first four innings, racking up a high pitch count and giving up at least two hits in each inning.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to say you got your butt beat,” Lowe said. “That’s what happened. They pitched great, 20 hits, 14 runs. You’ve just got to give them all the credit and it should be fun the last couple months. I don’t think either team is going to go away.”
Despite a subpar outing from Lowe, he kept the game within reach. He left after the sixth inning with a 4-1 deficit. The normally dominant Braves bullpen gave up ten runs in two innings. Cory Gearrin allowed six runs while only recording one out, and Scott Proctor’s struggles continued as he gave up four runs in an inning and two-thirds.
The Braves closed out the first half of the season in disappointing fashion, but they possess the fourth-best record in the majors behind only the Phillies, Yankees and Red Sox. With a record of 54-38, they are 3.5 games behind the Phillies for the division lead and five games up in the wild card standings.
“We’ve played well,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “The thing that saddens me the most is getting beat like this and not being able to play tomorrow. We’ve played well. We’ve had good runs. Now we’ve got to come out the other end of the All-Star break and keep those runs going.”
For today, the Phillies were too much to handle. Raul Ibanez, Michael Martinez and John Mayberry Jr paced the Phillies offense. Ibanez was 2-for-5 with a home run and six RBIs, Mayberry Jr had three doubles with four RBIs, and Martinez had four hits replacing the injured Shane Victorino.
The Braves didn’t mount much of an offense against Hamels’ strong pitching, but Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to six games with a double.
After the All Star break, the Braves will start a three game series against the Washington Nationals at home. Tim Hudson (8-6, 3.57 ERA) will face Livan Hernandez (5-8, 4.01 ERA) in the opening game of the series.
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