REUTERS AND AP, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, AND SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
The Atlanta Braves used an eighth-inning rally to beat the spiraling Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 on Thursday, moving to within two games from first place in the National League East Division.
Matt Diaz hit a go-ahead double for a 3-2 lead and Garret Anderson followed with a pinch-hit home run against reliever Ryan Madson, giving Atlanta their fourth straight win and continued success over the defending World Series champions.
Atlanta are 7-2 this season against Philadelphia (39-37), who have lost 14 of their last 18 contests to slip back into a tie for the NL East lead with the Florida Marlins.
Philadelphia’s J.A. Happ (5-0) stayed sharp since being moved from the bullpen to a starting role, throwing seven innings and striking out five while allowing two runs in the fourth, where the Braves (38-40) took a 2-0 lead on a Casey Kotchman two-run home run.
The Phillies tied the game on RBIs from Greg Dobbs and Pedro Feliz in the sixth but were shutdown late by Atlanta’s strong bullpen.
Peter Moylan relieved Braves starter Javier Vazquez in the sixth and allowed just one hit in one-and-a-third innings, while Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano nailed down the eighth and ninth innings respectively.
Vazquez entered the contest having lost four of his last five decisions but rebounded with a performance that included 109 pitches over five-and-a-third innings as he struck out five batters.
Diaz aided the pitching effort with three hits and two runs as Atlanta swept the Phillies for the first time since 2007.
Philadelphia has struggled with offense since slugger Raul Ibanez suffered a groin injury to be sidelined since June 18.
In other NL games, it was:
• Astros 7, Padres 2
• Mets 9, Pirates 8, 10 inns
• Cubs 9, Brewers 5
• Reds 3, D’backs 2, 10 inns
• Cardinals 5, Giants 2
AP, NEW YORK
Franklin Gutierrez and Russell Branyan homered as Seattle snapped New York’s seven-game winning streak with an 8-4 victory Thursday night.
Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run double and Chris Woodward added two RBIs as the Mariners handed CC Sabathia his second loss in 11 starts.
Miguel Batista pitched two hitless innings to win in relief of Jason Vargas, who lasted four innings with flu symptoms.
Sabathia was pulled with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. He allowed six runs and 10 hits, striking out eight.
In other AL action, it was:
• White Sox 4, Royals 1
• Angels 5, Orioles 2