The Philadelphia Phillies have shifted their focus from the wild-card race toward catching first-place Atlanta.
The streaking Phillies look to post a four-game sweep over the NL East-leading Braves when the two teams meet in the series finale at Citizens Bank Park.
With a 12-4 rout of Atlanta on Wednesday, the Phillies moved into a tie with Florida for first place in the NL wild-card standings, and closed within five games of NL East-leading Atlanta. They’ve won five of six overall since Houston swept a three-game series in Philadelphia last week.
With Brett Myers pitching against the Braves on Thursday and three more games in Atlanta next week, the Phillies are back in the division race after starting the week eight games out.
“That’s definitely on our minds,” said Cory Lidle, who pitched five effective innings for the win.
Philadelphia is hoping the higher stakes can help Myers snap out of his recent funk.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.67 ERA and eight homers allowed in his past seven starts.
In his last start, a 7-6 loss to the Marlins on Saturday, Myers allowed four runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings, his second-shortest outing this season.
Atlanta right-hander Jorge Sosa, who has yet to lose on the road season, will look to slow down the Phils on Thursday.
Sosa is 8-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 24 road games in 2005, including 6-0 with a 1.56 ERA and .204 opponents’ average in 10 starts.
“I don’t really enjoy too much with a loss,” Jones said.
Jones connected for his 300th career homer off Geoff Geary in the eighth inning, hitting a solo shot into the second deck in left field. The 28-year-old center fielder became the 12th player in major league history to hit 300 homers before his 30th birthday.
“If Andruw is going to hit one like that when we’re up nine runs, I kind of enjoyed watching it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of the 438-foot drive. “It was worth following.”