ATLANTA (AP)—The Philadelphia Phillies are building their case for a repeat NL East championship, one road win at a time.
Jimmy Rollins hit one of three Phillies’ homers and Philadelphia improved on its National League-best road record with a 6-2 win over the Braves on Saturday night. It was the Phillies second straight win in Atlanta.
The Phillies, who have won 14 of their last 18 games overall, are 17-13 on the road, including the 2-0 start to nine straight games away from Philadelphia.
“Things are working out for us,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “Things are going our way. We’re getting the breaks, and we’re getting the starting pitching.”
“When Victorino, Utley and Rollins are clicking, we have a lot of energy,” Manuel said. “We not only can get hits, we can manufacture runs.”
The NL East-leading Phillies are 4-1 against the Braves this season. The Phillies are the first team this season to win the first two games of a series in Atlanta. The Braves are 25-10 in those games.
“It’s been big for us,” Victorino said. “When you’re playing a division rival, it’s big. … Look at their home record. They play so well at home.”
With the score tied at 2, Braves starter Jo-Jo Reyes (2-4) walked Victorino with one out in the eighth. Utley lined the triple into the right-field corner, allowing Victorino to score without a throw to the plate. The hit knocked Reyes out of the game.
“I think that one walk killed me,” Reyes said. “I wasn’t able to get ahead, and that was the big key in the game.”
Kendrick gave up four hits and two runs with five walks and three strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings.
Reyes pitched a career-long 7 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits with two walks and four runs. He struck out eight, one shy of his career high.
“I felt fine,” Reyes said. “My velocity was still there. … I just didn’t make my pitches that last inning.”
The Braves knocked Kendrick out of the game with three hits, including Jones’ two-run homer over the center-field wall, in the sixth.
Jones was 1-for-3 and is hitting .420 with 15 homers. He has the highest batting average through June 7 since Paul O’Neill’s .431 mark on June 7, 1994, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“He’s something,” said Braves manager Bobby Cox of Jones. “We need somebody else to go with him here.”
The Braves’ 7-21 road record is the worst in the majors. They’ve remained above .500 by posting the strong home mark.
“To lose a series at home is tough, the way we’ve been playing on the road,” said Kelly Johnson. “It’s putting pressure on us to be near-perfect at home. We have been. Unfortunately, these two games have not gone our way. That’s one way of putting it.”
Ruiz has 11 career home runs, including four against the Braves. He does not have more than one homer against any other team.
Jayson Werth, activated from the disabled list before the game, started in right field and was 2-for-4. ^Notes: Utley was hit by pitches in the fourth and ninth innings. … Ring allowed an inherited runner to score for the second straight night after stranding the first 23 he inherited this season. … Home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher ruled batter interference against Burrell when his bat hit catcher Brian McCann as McCann threw to second base too late to prevent Utley’s stolen base. The stolen base was negated, and Utley had to return to first base. … Fletcher ejected Yunel Escobar after calling him out on strikes in the ninth.