After a slow start, the Philadelphia Phillies are hoping they finally have their season back on track.
The Phillies look to win a season-high fifth in a row when they cap a two-game series with the Atlanta Braves Thursday at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies (13-14) beat the Braves 5-4 on Wednesday for their third straight comeback victory. Philadelphia moved to one game under .500 for the first time since losing its season-opener.
“Any time you come from behind in the late innings, that’s going to pick a team up and give you energy and momentum,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
Aaron Rowand, who came to Philadelphia in the trade that sent slugger Jim Thome to the Chicago White Sox, hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning. The Phillies have not won five in a row since a six-game winning streak from June 7-12.
“When you get on a roll like this, it definitely changes the attitude and the confidence level of the team,” said Rowand.
Rowand, who also hit a go-ahead, three-run triple in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 8-5 win at Florida, has nine RBIs in his last six games.
“Rowand’s a good player, a team player,” Manuel said. “He’s a tough guy and a good guy. He talks at the right time. I like the way he plays. You have to sit and listen to him because he makes you.”
Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer, his 33rd against the Phillies, for the Braves (12-15), who had won three straight. Edgar Renteria started the sixth inning with an infield single, extending his hitting streak to 19 games dating back to the final game of the 2005 season.
John Thomson (0-1, 1.32 ERA) will look to help the Braves end Philadelphia’s streak. Thomson allowed one run and three hits in 6 2-3 innings of Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Tom Glavine and the New York Mets.
Thomson, who made two relief appearances at the start of the season, has posted an 0.76 ERA in his four starts. His only mistake against the Mets was a home run by catcher Paul Lo Duca—the first he has allowed in 26 innings.
Thomson is 7-4 with a 2.53 ERA—his best against any team—in 14 career starts against the Phillies. His seven wins also match his most against any team.
Thomson allowed one unearned run and six hits in five innings of the Braves’ 5-3 win over Philadelphia on April 10, but did not receive a decision in his first start of the season.
Philadelphia will counter with Cory Lidle (2-3, 4.40 ERA), who allowed three runs and four hits in six innings of Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh.
“I was hitting my spots. I was doing exactly what I wanted with the ball,” Lidle said.
Lidle is 5-1 with a 4.54 ERA in nine career appearances, including six starts, against the Braves. He allowed three runs and 10 hits in six innings during a 7-5 loss to Atlanta on April 12.