for this game

Howard, Burrell propel Phillies into first-place tie

Sep 28, 2007 - 4:29 AM By Vince DiGregorio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Finally, the Philadelphia Phillies no longer have to play catch-up.

Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell each belted two-run home runs and Kyle Kendrick tossed six effective innings as the Phillies eliminated the Atlanta Braves from playoff contention with a 6-4 victory in the rubber game of a three-game series Thursday.

The win, coupled with New York's 3-0 loss to St. Louis at Shea Stadium, moved the Phillies (87-72) into a first-place tie with the Mets (87-72) in the National League East Division.

"We fought all year long, and all of a sudden, you look up and the Mets start going bad and we kept chipping away, chipping away," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Now, we're even with them, but the job's not done yet."

Tom Gordon and J.C. Romero each pitched a scoreless inning before Brett Myers closed out the ninth with his 21st save.

The final score of the Mets' game was flashed on the scoreboard at Citizens Bank Park in the top of the ninth inning, sending the crowd of 40,589 into a towel-waving frenzy.

"I couldn't hear myself think, and that was great," Myers said of the crowd's reaction. "I loved every minute of it."

Kendrick (10-4) allowed three runs and six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The 23-year-old righthander began the season at Class AA Reading of the Eastern League.

"I just do what I did in Double-A - attack the strike zone," Kendrick said. "Attack the hitters, get ahead. Just keep the ball down. Change speeds."

The Phillies remained one game behind San Diego (88-71) for the NL wild card following the Padres' 9-5 win at Milwaukee.

"We believed in ourselves that we had the ability to try to make a run," Howard said. "We never counted ourselves out, whether it was for the wild card or for the division."

Philadelphia scored four runs in the first inning off Atlanta starter John Smoltz with the help of two Atlanta errors. The Phillies led, 1-0, after only two pitches.

After Jimmy Rollins led off with a single, Shane Victorino dropped a bunt down the third base line. Smoltz fielded it but threw wildly past first, allowing Rollins to score and Victorino to reach third.

"I've never been part of a game where two pitches (becomes) 1-0 and man on third," Smoltz said.

Mark Teixeira then booted Chase Utley's grounder to permit Victorino to score and give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Howard lined a 2-2 pitch down the right field line for his 44th home run to double the advantage.

"To be able to get the lead early was huge," Howard said. "(I hit a) slider."

The Phillies used a two-out rally in the third to make it 6-0. Aaron Rowand doubled before Burrell hit a fly ball to left that just cleared the wall for his 30th home run.

"Burrell's ball is not a home run, but that's just what this park does for you," Smoltz said.

For Burrell, it was his first career homer off Smoltz. He entered the at-bat just 2-for-26 against the righthander.

"(Smoltz) made a mistake and I finally hit it," Burrell said. "That's the way, realistically, you have to look at it. When he's on, he's tough. He wouldn't have an ERA under three if he wasn't."

Smoltz (14-8) lasted just four innings, yielding six runs - five earned - and seven hits. He struck out eight without a walk.

"Smoltzie - eight strikeouts in four innings - what are you going to say?" Braves manager Bobby Cox asked. "He didn't exactly have good luck."

The 40-year-old Smoltz had not allowed more than three runs in any of his previous 10 starts, going at least six innings in each outing.

"It's been an incredible year for me personally, and I'm not gonna let this one game do anything to the progress that I've made," he said. "I'm excited at what I can do next year."

Atlanta's offense finally came to life in the sixth inning courtesy of back-to-back home runs. Chipper Jones hit a two-run shot to left, his 29th of the season, before Teixeira launched a solo blast into the left-center field seats to cut the deficit to 6-3.

Gordon wiggled out of trouble in the seventh, getting Matt Diaz to ground into a double play after a leadoff single off the left field wall by Andruw Jones and enducing an inning-ending flyout by Edgar Renteria with two on.

After Romero worked around an error by second baseman Utley in the eighth, Jeff Francoeur deposited Myers' first pitch of the ninth over the left field wall to draw the Braves within two.

But Myers settled down and got the final three outs for the save.

"I struggled a little bit in the ninth, but I got the job done," Myers said.

Atlanta has now missed the playoffs for a second consecutive year after winning 14 straight division titles.

"It's too bad," Cox said. "If we come in here and sweep, we'd be two (games) behind the Mets, but we're not."






  • 30
    roots
    ekabrazi Added 5 roots

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 28 12:06 AM


  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 4 10 3
    PHILADELPHIA 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 x 6 9 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ, RON MAHAY (5TH), JOEY DEVINE (6TH), MANNY ACOSTA
    (7TH), ROYCE RING (8TH), PETER MOYLAN (8TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN
    PHI - KYLE KENDRICK, TOM GORDON (7T

    Sep 27 9:41 PM
  • 25
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 9:36 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JEFF FRANCOEUR (18) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF BRETT MYERS.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 4, PHILADELPHIA 6
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: A JONES (.222, 1-FOR-3)

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 9:33 PM
  • 20
    roots
    donbean Added 5 roots

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 9:09 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MARK TEIXEIRA (17) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF KYLE KENDRICK.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 3, PHILADELPHIA 6
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: B MCCANN (.271, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 8:34 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CHIPPER JONES (29) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 6TH OFF KYLE KENDRICK SCORED EDGAR RENTERIA.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 2, PHILADELPHIA 6
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M TEIXEIRA (.318, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 8:33 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY PAT BURRELL (30) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF JOHN SMOLTZ SCORED AARON ROWAND.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0, PHILADELPHIA 6
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: G DOBBS (.275, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 7:53 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY RYAN HOWARD (44) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 1ST OFF JOHN SMOLTZ SCORED CHASE UTLEY.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0, PHILADELPHIA 4
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: A ROWAND (.310, 26 HR, 88 RBI)

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 7:19 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY MARK TEIXEIRA ALLOWED SHANE VICTORINO TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C UTLEY ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    PHILADELPHIA 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: R HOWARD (.265, 43 HR, 128 RBI)

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 7:17 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY JOHN SMOLTZ ALLOWED JIMMY ROLLINS TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S VICTORINO ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    PHILADELPHIA 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: C UTLEY (.334, 22 HR, 101 RBI)

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 7:14 PM
  • 15
    roots
    kerper Added 5 roots

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 6:02 PM
  • 10
    roots
    dpovia Added 5 roots

    Braves vs. PhilliesSep 27 5:35 PM
  • 5
    roots
    dseligsohn Added 5 roots

    Braves vs. PhilliesJul 18 4:23 PM