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Phillies Back on Track

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Phillies Back on Track
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In case anyone forgot, the Phillies did sweep the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field yesterday. Behind another sensational performance by Cliff Lee, the Phillies brought their division lead back up to five games. Lee pitched eight strong innings, allowing only one run while striking out eight. In three starts with the Phillies Cliff Lee has shown why he was the AL Cy Young Winner last season. His stats so far: 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA, 24 innings pitched, 23 Ks, and 6 BB. Plus he has three hits which is equal to the amount of runs he has let up.

Lee wasn’t the only highlight of the game.  The Phillies brought their bats out in the series and remembered how to hit with runners in scoring position for the first time in a while.  Ryan Howard hit his first home run of August and Pedro Feliz also "homered" to spark the Phillies in the finale.

The Phillies were able to sweep the Cubs at Wrigley for the first time in the last 25 years.  The Wrigley faithful had something to say about it, trying to help out their Cubs by throwing a beer on Shane Victorino as he was trying to make a catch late in the game.  Fortunately Shane kept his concentration and caught the ball while receiving a shower of beer.

After this energy boost, the Phillies traveled to Atlanta to face the division rival Braves.  Tonight Joe Blanton squared off against Braves ace Jair Jurrjens, who the Phillies hadn’t scored a run against in his last two starts.  After the Braves got out to a 1-0 lead, Chase Utley provided a spark for the Phillies by hitting a two run homer off of Jurrjens (his first of August) to make it 2-1 Phils.

Of course they gave one run back the next inning to tie the game at two.  Both starters pitched through seven innings as the game remained tied due to some tremendous fielding, especially by Shane Victorino, who made two sensational grabs in center field.

In the top of the ninth inning, Ryan Howard showed that he is back in the home run hitting groove, smacking a solo shot to deep center field.  This gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead, and it was Howard’s 205th career home run, passing Dick Allen on the Phillies all time home run list.  Not-so-lights-out Brad Lidge came into the game in the bottom of the ninth to close it out for the Phillies, who were going for their fourth win in a row, one that they sorely needed to put some more room between themselves and the Braves.

After getting the first out, Lidge allowed a base hit, then a stolen base.  Brad then threw some 97 mph high heat to strike out Ryan Church.  With a man on second and two outs, Lidge faced the poor man’s Matt Stairs in Greg Norton, who he walked.  This brought Nate McLouth to the plate for the Braves with two men on.  McClouth hit a fly ball to left field that fell into the glove of Raul Ibanez, securing the win for the Phillies!

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