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Atlanta Braves Give up Lead, Swept by Philadelphia Phillies

September 8th, 2011 at 9:28 AM
By Cody Fields

The Atlanta Braves finally suffered their first three-game sweep of the season at the hands of the Philadelphia Philles, and some unusual circumstances produced that. The Phillies came from behind on the Atlanta bullpen to take the final game 3-2.

The game started by Brandon Beachy throwing a gem, giving up one run on two hits – the only run coming on a Raul Ibanez homer in the second inning – and striking out seven over 5 2/3 innings.

Beachy had just been taken off the hook for the loss in the top of the sixth when Michael Bourn led off the inning to break a no-hit bid by Roy Oswalt. Chipper Jones followed two batters later with an RBI single to end the shutout and tie the game.

Things got interesting the bottom of the sixth, however. After Beachy got Michael Martinez to ground and struck out Oswalt, he allowed a free pass to Shane Victorino. With Victorino moving on a 2-2 count, Placido Polanco hit a flare on which Jason Heyward made a diving attempt. Though he was initially called out by first base umpire CB Buckner, an argument from Charlie Manuel quickly convinced Buckner to confer with other umpires. The call was overturned, resulting in Fredi Gonzalez protesting and getting ejected by Dale Scott.

After the delay, the Braves double switched, bringing Freddie Freeman in at first base and Eric O'Flaherty to pitch. O'Flaherty apparently thought a first and third situation was too easy and beaned Chase Utley in the helmet with his first pitch to load the bags. He then got Ryan Howard to strike out on a low and in fastball to end the threat.

The top of the seventh saw the Braves take the lead when Heyward led off with a single and Alex Gonzalez bunted him over. Freeman then singled up the middle to allow Heyward to score.

The lead was not safe in the eighth inning, even though the usually reliable Jonny Venters came in. John Mayberry singled to start the inning, and a pinch-hitting Wilson Valdez bunted him into scoring position. Polanco would drive him in two batters later for Venters' third blown save of the year.

Peter Moylan entered in the bottom of the ninth in an effort to force extra frames, and the Aussie seemed to be on track to do so when he got Hunter Pence to ground out for the first out. That was the only out Moylan would record as he walked Raul Ibanez and gave up a single to Carlos Ruiz to put the winning run at second. Ross Gload then shot a single down the right field line to give the Phillies the walk-off win.

The sweep puts the Braves 10.5 games out of first place, so they should probably focus on maintaining their Wild Card lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, which has shrunk to 6.5 games.

The Braves will now utilize what was originally scheduled as an off day Thursday to make up the two games with the New York Mets that were washed out by Hurricane Irene. The first game of the doubleheader will see the Mets' Chris Schwinden make his major league debut opposite Mike Minor (4-2, 4.09 ERA), and Dillon Gee (12-5, 4.48 ERA) will square off against Julio Teheran (0-1, 5.19 ERA).

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Brandon Beachy, Chipper Jones, Jonny Venters, Michael Bourn, MLB, Peter Moylan, Raul Ibanez, Ross Gload, Roy Oswalt, Shane Victorino

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