Philadelphia (81-71) at Atlanta (86-66)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 22, 2005
  • TV: CSN, TBS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jon Lieber is doing his best to keep the Philadelphia Phillies in the thick of the NL playoff hunt.

The veteran right-hander will look to continue his September success when the Phillies play the deciding game of their series with the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.

Lieber is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in four starts this month after going 5-0 with a 3.12 ERA in six September starts for the New York Yankees last season. He is hoping to ride the momentum of the Phillies’ dramatic 10-6, 10-inning victory Wednesday.

Ryan Howard hit a grand slam in the 10th, keeping Philadelphia within two games of wild card-leading Houston.

Howard, who came up from the minors to replace injured first baseman Jim Thome, hit his first career slam against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 10—a ninth-inning shot that broke a 5-all tie.

This one, however, was even bigger as it kept the Phillies from a devastating loss after they blew two three-run leads.

“Every game is tight. Every game is a must-win,” Howard said. “You’ve got to go out there and handle your business. Hopefully, you’re there at the end.”

Jimmy Rollins drove in two runs and extended his hitting streak to 26 games as the Phillies pulled within five games of the Braves in the East.

Both teams have 10 games remaining, leaving Atlanta’s magic number for clinching a 14th straight division title at six.

Tim Hudson will take the mound against the Phillies for the fourth time this season, going 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in the previous three outings.

While the Braves still have a comfortable lead in the division, they want to finish strong. Atlanta is 25-22 since the beginning of August.

“We’ll probably get away with it,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said, “but that’s not the kind of ball you want to be playing.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lieber ChC vs. T. Hudson SF
17-13 Record 14-9
4.20 ERA 3.52
149 K 115
41 BB 65
1.21 WHIP 1.35