Howard Tomahawk Chops the Braves


5. 6. Final. 4. 17

The Phillies and Braves came out swinging the bats, combining for 5 runs in the first inning, including another blast off the bat of Ryan Howard. The game settled down thereafter, with the Phils tacking on a couple extra over the next half-dozen frames, then holding on at the end to win it.

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With two outs and one on in the top of the first, Phils starter Jerome Williams allowed a walk and a single to load the bases. Jace Peterson made him pay with a 2-run single to right, and Atlanta was out on top 2-0. Williams would go 6.2 innings, allowing 8 hits and 3 earned runs, walking 2 and striking out 2 batters.

But the Phils came right back in their half when, with two outs and two on base, Ryan Howard came to the plate and blasted his 2nd homerun in as many games. His 3rd overall long ball put the Phillies ahead by 3-2 against Braves starter Trevor Cahill, who would go 6 innings, allowing 5 hits and 4 earned, with 2 strikeouts and 3 walks.

It was nice to see the offense bounce back with Howie’s big blast. He continues..he swung the bat well all day. It’s good to see that,” said skipper Ryne Sandberg after the game.

The Braves got it tied back up in the top of the 3rd when Freddie Freeman and Kelly Johnson hit back-to-back doubles, making it a 3-3 game.

The Phils then scored solo runs in both the bottom of the 5th and 7th to take back the lead and then stretch it out. In the 5th, Freddy Galvis led off with a single and came around to score when Ben Revere tripled into the right field corner to put the Phils up 4-3.

In the 7th, Galvis again led off with a single, moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt from Andres Blanco, and then scored when Odubel Herrera was safe at 1st on an error by Freeman.

After the game, Sandberg was asked about Galvis’ improvement offensively this season: “Completely different mindset from Day One in Spring Training with Freddy. Being explained to him what his job is as an offensive player on the team, and that is to have a good line drive and ground ball stroke, and stay with that. He occasionally pops one out of the ballpark, but what he’s doing is staying with his game plan all the way through.”

The Phillies bullpen, trying to atone for blowing yesterday’s game, got 1.1 shutout innings from Luis Garcia and Ken Giles, and then turned the game over to closer Jonathan Papelbon for the 9th. The man who is hoping to get himself traded sometime soon nearly blew it, but finally would earn his 4th Save.

After retiring the leadoff man, Papelbon yielded a pinch-hit solo homer to Alberto Callaspo to cut the lead to a single run. He struck out the next hitter, but then allowed a hit and a walk to move the tying run into scoring position. Kelly Johnson then drove a ball deep to left field, but Revere was able to settle under it just short of the fence for the final out.

The Phillies thus ended their 6-game homestand with a 3-3 record, winning this series with Atlanta. They will now head out on the road for a 3-city, 10-game swing, not returning to Citizens Bank Park until Friday, May 8th.