After snapping a frustrating losing streak in dramatic fashion, the Philadelphia Phillies hope their recent scoring struggles are behind them.
Philadelphia closes a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, looking to win a series for the first time in the second half of the season.
The Phillies (55-49) rallied from a six-run deficit Saturday to beat the Braves (49-54) 10-9 and end a three-game losing streak. Philadelphia had scored six runs during the slide, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, as it fell out of first place in the NL East for the first time in nearly two months.
The Phillies scored seven runs in the fifth inning Saturday as Greg Dobbs hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer to give them the lead. The outburst bailed out starter Cole Hamels, who lasted 3 2-3 innings after allowing nine runs—four earned.
“If we lose, I would think about it a lot, but the team stepped up and did a tremendous job,” Hamels said.
Six Philadelphia relievers combined to pitch 5 1-3 scoreless innings to also key the win. The strong outing by the bullpen Saturday came after it allowed seven runs in three innings of Friday’s 8-2 loss.
The Phillies improved to 9-2 against Atlanta this season, and remained tied with Florida for second place in the division behind the Mets.
The Braves scored all nine runs in the fourth inning and are averaging 6.3 runs in their last nine. They wasted three RBIs from Mark Teixeira in starter Mike Hampton’s first appearance since 2005. Hampton failed to retire the three batters he faced in the decisive fifth inning, and was charged with a total of six runs.
The Atlanta pitching staff, however, has a 5.81 ERA in the last nine games, and the bullpen has been particularly inconsistent, going 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA during that 5-4 stretch.
The Phillies close out the series Sunday by handing the ball to Joe Blanton (0-0, 7.50 ERA), who makes his home debut. Blanton, who was traded on July 17 from Oakland in a four-player deal, pitched six innings on Tuesday against the Mets, allowing five runs in an 8-6 win in his first start with Philadelphia.
Blanton has never faced the Braves.
Jorge Campillo (5-4, 2.83) looks to win his third straight start when he counters for Atlanta. Campillo allowed two hits in seven innings of a 4-0 win over Florida on Monday.
“It was Campy’s night,” Chipper Jones told the Braves’ official Web site. “He was in complete control of a very good lineup.”
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances against the Phillies—all this season.
Jones missed his second straight game Saturday with a strained left hamstring. He wasn’t optimistic on Friday when asked about the injury.
“If I had to guess right now, at this point, it’s not a day-to-day thing,” he said. “That’s not to stay it couldn’t be a day-to-day thing in three or five days.”
Jones, who leads the majors with a .369 batting average, added that it was a “possibility” he could be placed on the disabled list for the first time this season.