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Phils sweep Braves to take dominant lead in NL East

Ross Gload came through with the game- hit RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning, putting an game whitewash of the Atlanta Braves 2 win and cementing their dominance atop the NL East.

The Phillies, who became the first team to sweep the NL wild card-leading Braves in a series of at least three games all season, widened their cushion to 10 1/2 games in the division. Their magic number is down to 12 to secure the NL East title for a fifth straight year.

Placido Polanco singled in the tying run off Jonny Venters in the eighth inning and Raul Ibanez, who homered in the second, walked against Peter Moylan (1-1) with one out in the ninth. Carlos Ruiz then hit a ground ball past a diving third baseman Chipper Jones to put runners at first and second.

Gload, who came into the game in a 4-for-33 slump, hit a sharp bouncer down the right field line, past diving first baseman Freddie Freeman for his major league-leading 17th pinch hit of the season and his first RBI since July 17.

"For me it's huge," Gload said. "I haven't had many of anything so I struggled pretty good. I'll take it. It's big for me, but it's bigger for the team."

Ryan Madson (4-2), who retired Michael Bourn on a ground ball in the ninth to leave a runner in scoring position, picked up the win as the Phillies moved 43 games over .500 for the first time in team history.

Roy Oswalt, who fanned seven over seven strong frames for the Phillies, didn't allow a hit until Bourn's lead-off double in the sixth. Bourn scored one out later on a Jones base hit to center.

There was controversy in the bottom of the frame. Shane Victorino walked with two outs and Polanco then hit a sinking line drive to right field. Jason Heyward raced over toward the line to make what was first ruled a diving catch, but the umpires huddled up after Polanco and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel argued that the ball bounced first.

Umpires agreed that replays showed the ball caromed off the grass and into Heyward's glove. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected after arguing the call that was changed.

Eric O'Flaherty then replaced Braves starter Brandon Beachy and he plunked Chase Utley on the helmet, but Ryan Howard fanned with the bases full. Utley left the game for precautionary reasons after complaining of headaches. He likely has a very mild concussion, but was going for testing, according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

"The way to describe it, he didn't feel 100 percent after getting hit," Amaro said. "He felt okay right afterwards, then started feeling a little fuzzy. We took the precaution to get him out of the game."

Amaro said it appeared Utley would be out at least a couple of days and that the second baseman may not go to Milwaukee for a series this weekend. The GM also said the Phillies would likely activate shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the disabled list.

"I'll have Charlie use him (Rollins) in emergency purposes," Amaro said.

Atlanta went ahead 2-1 the next inning when Heyward singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Freeman's single that took a high hop over Utley's head.

The Phillies tied it in the eighth. Pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr. singled, advanced on a sac bunt and came home on Polanco's two-out base hit to right field. Heyward's throw home was off line, otherwise Mayberry may have been out at the plate.

"We had the right guys out there to win it," Gonzalez said. "You have to give credit to Polanco. That was a pretty nasty pitch Venters threw to him. He poked it out to right field."

Ibanez clubbed his 250th career homer with two outs in the second, a shot to right.

Game Notes

Major League Baseball denied the formal protest filed by the Phillies concerning Sunday's 5-4 loss in 14 innings against the Florida Marlins. The Phillies played the game under protest after crew chief Joe West reviewed and overturned a Hunter Pence sixth inning double because of fan interference...The Braves travel to New York for a makeup doubleheader against the Mets Thursday before heading to St. Louis for the weekend...Manuel is one victory shy of Harry Wright (636 wins from 1884-90 & 1890-93) for second place on the Phillies' all-time list...Beachy fanned seven over 5 2/3 innings. He set Atlanta's rookie record for strikeouts in a single season with 142. The previous mark was Jair Jurrjens' 139 in 2008...The last time the Braves were swept in a three-game set was last September 20-22 at Citizens Bank Park.