When the Philadelphia Phillies came into town on Friday, the Atlanta Braves trailed the NL East leaders by three-and-a-half games. The Braves failed to capitalize on their chance to make up ground. Instead, it was the Phillies who, with a little bit of help from the Braves, completed the sweep just a few days after taking two of three from the Florida Marlins.
On Friday. Jamie Moyer faced off against Tim Hudson in a game that is best described as a pitchers duel. Tim Hudson went seven-and-two-thirds innings while striking out three, walking four, and having only one run cross the plate against him. Despite his performance though, the Braves were never able to put the game away.
Running mistakes by shortstop Yunel Escobar and relief pitcher Will Ohman were bad endings to good run-scoring opportunities, and when the game went into the top of the ninth, things got worse for the Braves. A dropped two-out fly ball by Kelly Johnson scored Eric Bruntlett to tie the game. Shane Victorino's triple scored the go-ahead run in the top of the tenth. Victorino later threw out what would have been the Brave's tying run at home plate, ending the game in a 4-3 win for the Phillies.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Phillies received solid pitching from their starters and relievers and never trailed the Braves in either game. Brad Lidge, the Phillies closer, pitched in all three games and garnered a save in both opportunities he received.
While Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins delivered solid performances, the MVP of the weekend was Shane Victorino. He went 5-12 at the plate and delivered two RBIs, and played consistent defense, including the highlight-reel throw he made to end Friday's game.
Because of Atlanta's inability to win Friday night, and their inability to shut down the Phillie's offense (who scored six runs in both Saturday's and Sunday's games), Atlanta now trails Philadelphia by six-and-a-half games, and they lost a crucial division series at home.
While there is still a lot of season left to be played, it will be interesting to see what kind of effect this weekend will have in the playoff race in September.