for this game

Polanco's big hit lifts Phillies into first place

Sep 8, 2010 - 3:33 AM By ROB MAADDI AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA(AP) -- They overcame injuries to nearly every starter, suffered through an awful slump for long stretches and kept going.

The Philadelphia Phillies are back in first place by the slimmest of margins. Now they'll try to stay there.

Placido Polanco hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning and the Phillies beat the Florida Marlins 8-7 Tuesday night to move atop the NL East standings.

"It's always good to be in first. That's the only way to live," manager Charlie Manuel said.

The Phillies moved a half-game ahead of Atlanta, which lost 5-0 in Pittsburgh. The two-time defending NL champions hadn't been in first place since May 30. They're seeking their fourth straight division title.

Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino each hit a solo homer for the Phillies, who were seven games behind the Braves on July 22.

"There's a lot of baseball left," Victorino said. "We are where we wanted to be now. We're in position to control our destiny."

After the Marlins rallied to tie it at 7 in the eighth, the Phillies answered with two outs in the bottom half. Victorino blooped a single to center off Jose Veras (2-2). He stole second and scored on Polanco's liner to right.

Ryan Madson (5-2) got the last four outs to earn the win. Closer Brad Lidge was unavailable because of a tender right elbow. He said he'll be ready by Friday.

Phillies starter Joe Blanton allowed four runs - two earned - and six hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Mike Stanton homered for the third straight game for Florida. Marlins starter Chris Volstad gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings.

"This experience is helping them," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said of his young players. "They're getting better and better playing against a real good team."

A crowd of 43,841 was the 113th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park, and fans did some scoreboard watching in case the Phillies weren't paying attention. When the Pirates took a 1-0 lead over the Braves in the seventh inning at Pittsburgh, some clapped. They cheered louder when it became 3-0 minutes later.

Down 7-4, the Marlins rallied against three relievers with help from the sloppy Phillies in the eighth.

Stanton led off with a homer against Jose Contreras. With two outs and Brad Davis on second, Emilio Bonifacio singled. Davis was held at third, but he scored on right fielder Jayson Werth's throwing error. Bonifacio advanced to second on the throw, got balked to third by J.C. Romero and scored on Madson's wild pitch to tie it at 7.

Blanton left after walking Bonifacio in the seventh. Antonio Bastardo came in to face Logan Morrison, who lined an RBI double to center to cut it to 5-4. Morrison advanced to third on second baseman Chase Utley's throwing error. But Chad Durbin came in and retired Hanley Ramirez on a foul pop. After Dan Uggla walked, Gaby Sanchez flied out to end the inning.

Jimmy Rollins, batting fifth for the second straight game instead of his usual leadoff spot, hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half. Ibanez then tripled in a run to make it 7-4.

Down 3-1, the Phillies used the long ball to take the lead.

Ibanez hit an opposite-field drive to left-center in the fourth. Victorino led off the fifth with a drive to the seats in right. Two outs later, Howard connected to make it 4-3.

Howard's opposite-field shot off Volstad was his sixth homer off the righty. He's 11 for 23 against him.

Rollins followed Howard's 27th homer with a single. After he stole second, Ibanez singled him in for a 5-3 lead.

Rollins lined an RBI single for a 1-0 lead in the second.

Helped by Blanton's error, the Marlins scored two unearned runs to take a 2-1 lead in the third. Uggla had a run-scoring groundout and Sanchez hit an RBI single.

NOTES: RHP Scott Mathieson and RF Domonic Brown received the Paul Owens Award given to the top players in the Phillies' minor league system. Mathieson, who rebounded from two elbow operations, was 3-6 with 26 saves and a 2.80 ERA in 54 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Brown hit .327 with 20 home runs, 68 RBIs and 17 steals in 93 games between Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley. ... Brown was a late scratch from the lineup due to a sore right quadriceps. ... Ibanez is 9 for 18 with three homers against Volstad. Ibanez has 13 homers this season. He reached that number on May 16 last year on his way to hitting a career-high 34. ... Ramirez's hitting streak ended at 14 games.






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