Phillies 5, Braves 3, 1st game; Phillies 4, Braves 1, 2nd game
ATLANTA (AP)—Seeing his club edging closer to full strength only made Philadelphia Phillies manager Larry Bowa more mindful that it’s probably too late to make a push for a playoff berth.
In the opener, Jim Thome hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning to lead the Phillies to a 5-3 victory. Philadelphia outhit the Braves 21-7 in the two games.
“I know what they can do,” Bowa said of the Phillies. “They just didn’t get the opportunity to do it this year.”
Worrell retired the next three batters for his 18th save. Billy Wagner, another key Phillies player to have missed substantial time on the disabled list, picked up his 17th save in the first game.
“It’s nice, especially in the bullpen, it’s nice,” Bowa said.
The Braves’ lead in the NL East was cut from 8 1/2 to seven games over second-place Florida, which beat the New York Mets 3-0 for its ninth straight win.
The Phillies won the second game with only one extra-base hit, a fourth-inning double by Ryan Howard.
Leading 2-1, the Phillies loaded the bases off Juan Cruz in the top of the ninth. Marlon Byrd reached on an error by shortstop Rafael Furcal and moved to second on Todd Pratt’s sacrifice. Cruz walked David Bell and gave up a long single to Jimmy Rollins that loaded the bases. Thome walked as a pinch-hitter to force in Byrd for a 3-1 lead. Bobby Abreu’s single drove in Bell.
Byrd robbed Atlanta’s Andruw Jones of an extra-base hit by climbing the wall and then reaching back to make a catch in center field in the bottom of the ninth.
“Andruw deserves that,” a smiling Bowa said. “He does that once a night. Payback is deserved because he’s such a great center fielder.”
A grinning Jones said Byrd had to make the catch to protect himself.
“He’s lucky that he caught it; it probably would have hit his face,” Jones said.
The Braves were swept in a doubleheader for the first time at home since Aug. 7, 1990, when San Diego won two games at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The Braves had not been swept in any doubleheader since July 22, 1994, at St. Louis.
Bowa was ejected in the sixth inning of the second game after he argued a called third strike on Pat Burrell. Bowa was thrown out by first-base umpire Lance Barksdale, who called Burrell out on the appeal.
Byrd (6-5) gave up eight hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings, setting a season high with eight strikeouts.
Floyd, making his second major league start, gave up two hits and one run in four innings. Floyd walked three batters, including two in the fourth, when the Braves took a 1-0 lead on Eli Marrero’s RBI single.
Bowa is under orders to limit Floyd’s pitch count.
“He’s shown me a lot. He’s got a lot of poise,” the manager said.
The Phillies tied it in the sixth inning when Chase Utley beat out a two-out bunt single, allowing Abreu to score from third base.
J.D. Drew had to leave the game in the sixth inning after he was hit on his right elbow by a pitch from Todd Jones.
Drew, 0-for-2 in the game, had his 16-game hitting streak snapped. He is listed as day to day with a bruised elbow.
In the opener, Thome’s three-run homer in the eighth inning gave the Phillies the lead and gave him 40 homers for a fourth straight season. He said the milestone means little if the Phillies don’t make the playoffs.
“I’ve always said when you don’t go into the playoffs, they forget your year the day after,” Thome said.
Ryan Madson (8-2) earned the win in relief of Vincent Padilla.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Wright said. “They’ve saved games for me all year. Everything evens out. … You win as a team, you lose as a team. I’m never going to point fingers.”
Bobby Abreu took a called third strike with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and was thrown out of the game after arguing the call with plate umpire Larry Vanover.
Abreu had to be restrained by Bowa and Phillies bench coach Gary Varsho before finally leaving the field.
Giles has a bruised left elbow and sat out the second game.
Abreu set a career high when he stole his 37th base in the first game. He added his 38th steal in the second game. … With 27 homers, Abreu is three homers shy of a 30-30 season. … Utley stayed in the game after he was spiked, opening a cut on his right hand, while taking the throw on Andruw Jones’ stolen base in the fourth inning of the second game.