The Philadelphia Phillies have a chance to win three straight series when they close out a three-game set versus the Atlanta Braves tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies took series from Washington and Arizona before splitting the first two games of this set with Atlanta, and haven't pulled off the trifecta since May 11-17 this season in matchups with San Diego, Houston and the Chicago Cubs. Philadelphia won two of three contests against the Padres, before sweeping the Astros and Cubs in back-to-back two-game sets.
Cole Hamels put the Phillies in their current situation in Tuesday's 3-0 victory by tossing a five-hit shutout and striking out six batters. Hamels posted his first complete game since September 8, 2011 at Milwaukee and first regular season shutout since September 1, 2009 against San Francisco.
"Anytime you go out and put up zeroes and obviously finish a game, that's ultimately the goal every single time you're warming up before the game and from the first pitch on," Hamels said. "I was pleased I was able to work all four pitches and get ahead of hitters, and get outs."
Ryan Howard contributed a two-run homer in a three-run first inning and Domonic Brown added an RBI double for the Phillies, who snapped a seven-game skid to Atlanta and won for the fifth time in eight tries. The Phillies are 3-2 so far on a nine-game homestand and also will host St. Louis.
Kyle Kendrick draws the start for the Phillies tonight and is 4-9 with a 4.45 earned run average in 26 games (14 starts) this season. He was saddled with the loss in Friday's 4-2 setback versus Arizona and allowed three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in four innings.
Kendrick, a right-hander, has pitched well in his career against the Braves, going 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 17 games (11 starts).
Atlanta had won four of five and 11 of its last 13 games until Hamels shut the club down last night. Mike Minor pitched well in defeat and allowed three runs in seven innings. He was victimized by a three-run first inning.
"The game didn't start off too well. I didn't have my stuff early on," Minor said. "I pretty much battled throughout the game."
Chipper Jones has reached base safely in 30 of his last 34 games since June 19, and owns 20 runs, 15 doubles, five homers and 24 RBI in that time.
The Braves fell four games behind Washington for the NL East lead and will visit the New York Mets for three games over the weekend.
Tonight, the Braves will hand the ball to veteran right-hander Tim Hudson. Hudson has won four straight starts and is unbeaten in his previous six outings (5-0). He recorded his 100th win in an Atlanta uniform in Friday's 4-1 victory over Houston and allowed one unearned run in 7 1/3 innings, pushing his totals to 11-4 in 18 starts with a 3.45 ERA this season.
Hudson is 5-1 in seven road starts this season and 9-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 24 career starts against the Phillies. The right-hander has won both of his meetings with Philadelphia this season.
Atlanta is 8-3 against the Phillies this season.