for this game

Burrell leads Phillies to seventh straight win

Sep 19, 2008 - 3:36 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Thanks to Pat Burrell, the Philadelphia Phillies made history on their march toward their second consecutive National League East Division crown.

Burrell belted a two-run homer in the sixth inning to snap a tie and lead the Phillies to their seventh consecutive victory Thursday, a 4-3 triumph over the Atlanta Braves.

Burrell's blast off Mike Hampton (2-3) opened a 4-2 advantage for the Phillies (86-67), who maintained their one-half game lead over the New York Mets (85-67) in the National League East. The Mets posted a 7-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

"I think we are (on a roll)," Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge said. "Everything's finally coming together right now, I think."

It was the 32nd homer of the season and 250th career for Burrell, who went just 1-for-9 over the first two games of the series - including a five-strikeout performance in Tuesday's 8-7 victory.

"I've been struggling lately," Burrell admitted. "That's fortunate that I had a night like tonight, when I contributed and it mattered. That's what you want as a player."

The home run made a winner of Cole Hamels (14-9), who improved to 6-2 lifetime against Atlanta. The lefthander, who has won five of his last six decisions, allowed two runs and six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings.

Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero bridged the gap to Lidge, who set down the Braves in order in the ninth for his 38th save in as many opportunities. Lidge has converted 41 consecutive save chances dating to September 23, 2007 while with Houston.

The save also kept the Phillies perfect when leading after eight innings this season.

"Statistically, we're 81-0 when we have the lead," Hamels said. "(Lidge) hasn't failed yet, which is great."

The team from the City of Brotherly Love has not been kind to the city of Atlanta this season, decimating the Braves here in a manner not seen by a Northern-based institution since General Sherman torched through here during the Civil War.

The Phillies, who are 4-2 against the Braves in Philadelphia, have been even better in Atlanta, winning all nine games at Turner Field en route to becoming the first team to sweep the Braves organization of a series of more than four home games in a season since the Chicago Cubs won all 11 road contests against the Boston Doves in 1909.

"I was talking to Chipper (Jones) about that today," Burrell said. "So many years that we came here, we weren't able to win nine in a season against these guys, let alone here. It goes to show you that things change."

Braves manager Bobby Cox was not interested in such a statistic.

"What difference does it make?" he asked.

Lidge and the Phillies thought otherwise.

"It's definitely weird," he said. "When I played here with Houston, we got beat up badly. We've gotten the job done here (this year). We've matched up pretty well."

It was a different hero every game here for the Phillies, who won contests thanks to the bat of Ryan Howard, the rare power of Carlos Ruiz and the glove of Atlanta second baseman Kelly Johnson - who dropped a potential game-ending pop-up here in June.

"They just played better than us," Hampton said. "They beat us. They pitched better and they hit better. That's pretty much how it's been all year."

Wednesday was Burrell's chance to shine. However, he almost was not even given the chance.

"I thought about resting him," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. "But we've been winning."

Keeping Burrell in the lineup was the second decision in as many days by Manuel that paid dividends. On Wednesday, the Phillies' manager elected to bump starter Kyle Kendrick in favor of rookie J.A. Happ, who tossed six scoreless innings en route to his first major league win.

In this one, the much-maligned Burrell put the exclamation point on Philadelphia's rare road sweep of Atlanta by blasting a 3-2 offering from Hampton into the bleachers in left field. The shot came two batters after Jayson Werth reached on an error by third baseman Jones to start the sixth.

"I tried to throw a four-seam (fastball) away," Hampton said. "I thought it was a decent pitch. Obviously, he was looking for it and knocked the heck out of it."

Atlanta battled back in the seventh as Johnson reached safely with two outs. His grounder that got through first baseman Howard originally was ruled an error but later changed to an infield single, extending Johnson's career-best hitting streak to 16 games.

Jones drew a walk from Madson and Brian McCann lifted a fly ball that was dropped by shortstop Jimmy Rollins in shallow left field for an error, allowing Johnson to score and cut the deficit to 4-3. Following a wild pitch that put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position, Omar Infante popped out to third base to end the inning.

Philadelphia plated two runs in the first on an RBI double by Werth and Howard's sacrifice fly. Atlanta halved the deficit in the bottom of the frame on a double by McCann that plated Jones, who drew a two-out walk.

Casey Kotchman tied the contest in the second by smashing his first homer as a Brave - and 13th of the year - into the right-center field bleachers.

Hampton allowed four runs - two earned - six hits and two walks for Atlanta, which fell to 2-13 overall against Philadelphia this season.








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

    BATTERIES: PHI - COLE HAMELS, RYAN MADSON (7TH), J.C. ROMERO (8TH), BRAD LIDGE
    (9TH) AND CARLOS RUIZ
    ATL - MIKE HAMPTON, JULIAN TAVAREZ (8TH), JEFF BENNETT
    (9TH) AND BRIAN MC

    Sep 18 9:52 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY JIMMY ROLLINS ALLOWED KELLY JOHNSON TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B MCCANN ON FIRST, C JONES ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 4
    ATLANTA 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: O INFANTE (.297, 1-FOR-3)

    Phillies 4, Braves 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 18 9:14 PM
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    Phillies 4, Braves 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 18 9:14 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY PAT BURRELL (32) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF MIKE HAMPTON SCORED RYAN HOWARD.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 4, ATLANTA 2
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: S VICTORINO (.288, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Phillies 4, Braves 2  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 18 8:42 PM
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    Phillies 2, Braves 2  Top 4, 0 OutsSep 18 8:08 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CASEY KOTCHMAN (1) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 2ND OFF COLE HAMELS.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 2, ATLANTA 2
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.235, 11 HR, 67 RBI)

    Phillies 2, Braves 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 18 7:41 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B MCCANN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 2
    ATLANTA 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: O INFANTE (.296, 3 HR, 37 RBI)

    Phillies 2, Braves 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 18 7:30 PM


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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    PHILADELPHIA 2 2 2 0
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    CURRENT PITCHERS: PHI - COLE HAMELS
    ATL - MIKE HAMPTON

    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M PRADO (.319, 2 HR, 28 RBI)
    K JOHNSON (.285, 11 HR, 64 RBI)
    C JONES (.365, 21 HR, 72 RBI)

    Phillies 2, Braves 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 18 7:22 PM
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    Phillies vs. BravesSep 18 6:19 PM
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