The Atlanta Braves desperately needed Randall Delgado to pitch deep into Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies after the bullpen threw over seven innings in Wednesday's epic 11-winning win. He did just that, but Joe Blanton did him one inning better by throwing a complete game shutout.
It is not often, as is the case with Delgado, that a pitcher can give up two runs over eight innings and lose. Blanton needed only 88 pitches and gave up only three hits and no walks in a game that only last two hours and two minutes.
"He pitched as well as I've ever seen him," Dan Uggla said. "We couldn't get anything going."
Delgado, who only threw 4 1/3 innings in his last outing, did not start well when Jimmy Rollins singled to start the game and Juan Pierre got on with a bunt single. He limited the Phillies to a sacrifice fly by Hunter Pence in the inning, however.
After allowing a single to Laynce Nix to start the second, Delgado retired 17 consecutive batters before giving up a homer to Nix in the eighth. He did not walk a batter.
"I'm proud of him," David Ross said. "He pounded the strike zone and got ahead of the hitters, which he has had trouble doing at times."
Livan Hernandez was the only bullpen arm used by the Braves. He worked the ninth inning, giving up a two-run homer to Shane Victorino to set the score at its final of 4-0.
Blanton enter with a career line of 1-4 with a 5.19 ERA against the Braves, but he did what Roy Halladay was supposed to do Wednesday by plowing through the Braves lineup.
Freddie Freeman recorded a two-out hit in the first, Ross beat out an infield hit in the fifth, and Michael Bourn singled in the ninth for the only Braves baserunners of the game. A lineout double play by Martin Prado to end the game kept Blanton at only two over the minimum for batters faced.
"You have to tip your hat to him," Fredi Gonzalez said. "But we weren't as patient as we have been."
The loss finished the Braves' homestand at 3-4, something they wish they could have improved on as they enter a nine-game road trip to visit the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. They are currently 7-6 on the road.
Tim Hudson will make his second start of the season Friday at 8:40, opposing Guillermo Moscoso of the Colorado Rockies.
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