Raul walks off vs. the Braves.

    Faced with the possibility of having to rely on the likes of David Herndon, Andrew Carpenter, Danys Baez, and other slop that belongs in Lehigh Valley (See Wednesday’s box score and you’ll cringe) to keep the Braves off the board in the extra frames, Raul Ibanez took matters into his own hands with a walk-off home run off of Scott Proctor for a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.  Juan Perez struck out the side on 9 pitches in the top half of the 10th for the win and in the mean time joined the great Andy Ashby as the last two Phillies pitchers to accomplish the feat.

    The Braves got the scoring started in the 2nd inning when Freddie Freeman’s bloop single to center scored Chipper Jones. Chipper came around to score after advancing to second on a Carlos Ruiz passed ball. Oddly, Ruiz and Halladay didn’t seem to be on the same page this inning as Halladay would later have a wild pitch, something that is very uncommon from the battery mates.  In the bottom half of the 2nd, Dom Brown came up with runners at the corners and none out. Considering the double play machine, Wilson Valdez, was on deck, it seemed the Phils’ odds of scoring rested on Brown’s shoulders.  However, Brown struck out, but was picked up by Valdez as he hit a fly ball deep enough to score Ibanez and tie the game.

    The Braves  once again took the lead in the fourth on a Dan Uggla infield single that would score Phillies’ killer Brian McCann. However, Chooch countered with a solo shot in the 4th tying the game for a second time.  Both starting pitchers, Beachy and Halladay pitched well with Beachy being pulled for a pinch-hitter in the 7th and Halladay going 8 strong innings as usual . After Uggla’s infield single scored McCann, the Braves only other scoring chance came in the 7th when pinch-hitter Eric Hinske struck out to end the inning leaving Nate McLouth on third.  The Phillies had multiple base runners in the 8th and 9th inning, but couldn’t push across the winning run.

    After Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo did their thing in the 8th and 9th, each retiring the side in order, Charlie Manuel was left with picking from the scrap heap of Juan Perez, Scott Mathieson, Andrew Carpenter, Danys Baez, and David Herndon for the 10th.  With two lefties, Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth hitting in the inning, Charlie chose the lefty Juan Perez and it worked out perfectly.  Perez struck out the side on 9 pitches, stunning most of the rain-soaked crowd, Charlie, and probably himself.  In the bottom of the half of the 10th after Ryan Howard was robbed of extra bases by Jordan Schafer, Ibanez rocked a 2-0 pitch into the right field seats and the Phils walked off victorious.

Notes:

-With the win, the Phils’ lead in the division jumped to 3.5 games, locking up first place heading into the All-Star break.

-Dom Brown went first to third on a Wilson Valdez single in the 4th. Yes, he touched second base.

-Dear fan who wore an entire catcher’s outfit with the gear to the game, you’re not cool.

-Rain delay to start of 1 hour and 54 mins.

-Hanson vs. Lee tomorrow at 4:10 on Fox.

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