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Atlanta Braves Fall to Philadelphia Phillies, Wild Card Lead Stands at One

September 27th, 2011 at 8:08 AM
By Cody Fields


Though the Atlanta Braves got to Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies early, the NL East champions shut down the Wild Card leaders after the second inning of Monday night's game.

Though Lee gave up a solo homer to Chipper Jones in the first inning and an RBI double to Alex Gonzalez, Lee settled thereafter on his way to his 17th win of the season to send the Braves to their 16th loss in their last 24 games.

The loss also very nearly cost the Braves their Wild Card lead, but the Houston Astros beat the second place St. Louis Cardinals in 10 innings to aid Atlanta's cause.

"I thought we played a good ballgame and got off to a good start," Jones said. "I thought we swung the bats pretty good. We just faced a pretty good pitcher out there and a pretty good team. They came back and got us. We had a couple opportunities and didn't cash in. But I'll take that kind of effort from the guys every day. Sometimes you just get beat."

With a one-game lead with two games left in the regular season, Atlanta's magic number still stands at two. Although an Astros sweep of the Cardinals would also seal the Braves' Wild Card fate, Atlanta would feel much more comfortable controlling what happens themselves.

"I just walked through the clubhouse and I think everybody is upset that we lost the game but we’ve still got another game tomorrow," Fredi Gonzalez said.

Randall Delgado turned out a strong five-inning outing, with his only damaged taken coming from an RBI single to Placido Polanco and a solo shot by Jimmy Rollins. In the sixth inning, however, Fredi Gonzalez turned to Christhian Martinez, who had thrown 33 pitches in 2 1/3 innings on Sunday, because George Sherrill had just been activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, and Kris Medlen is not ready to throw on back-to-back days.

Martinez got Ryan Howard to ground out to Chipper Jones to start the sixth, but Shane Victorino pelted a triple to right field, resulting in Eric O'Flaherty entering and giving up an RBI single to Raul Ibanez and giving the Phillies the lead.

The Phillies also padded their lead in the eighth when Victorino hit a double and was driven in again by Ibanez.

"I thought we were ready to play," Jones said. "To be honest with you, after the first two innings, I gave us a 99.9 percent chance of winning. I really felt like we were going to win. But that's what good ballclubs do. They just kind of chipped their way back into it."

Though Jones' homer gave the Braves the early lead, he tweaked his right knee in the sixth inning and played the rest of the game with an obvious limp.

"He doesn’t want to come out of games and he ran down to first base on that double play pretty good, so that’s encouraging to see. We’ll evaluate and see how he comes in tomorrow afternoon," Gonzalez said.

Braves fans will hold their collective breath for Tuesday's 7:10 EDT start as Derek Lowe (9-16, 4.92 ERA) will be relied on against Roy Oswalt (8-10, 3.86 ERA).


Tags: Alex Gonzalez, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Chipper Jones, Cliff Lee, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Randall Delgado, Shane Victorino, Wild Card

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