(Saturday, September 22nd)
Final Score: Atlanta 8, Philadelphia 2
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Mike Minor worked six effective innings on Saturday as the Atlanta Braves topped the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-2, in the middle installment of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
Minor (10-10) allowed two runs on just two hits with six strikeouts and a walk to notch his fourth consecutive positive decision.
"Minor did a terrific job of navigating through that lineup like he did," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Jason Heyward ripped a three-run double and added an RBI base hit, while Freddie Freeman smashed a three-run home run for the Braves, who have won six of their last eight games.
Atlanta's magic number to clinch a playoff berth is three.
Roy Halladay (10-8) lasted just 1 2/3 innings -- his shortest outing since the 2006 season -- and allowed seven runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Ryan Howard hit his 300th career home run, a solo shot in the fourth, and Darin Ruf collected his first major league RBI with a sacrifice fly for the Phils, who fell to four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who topped the Cubs earlier on Saturday, for the second NL wild card spot.
Atlanta got on the board in the first inning as Martin Prado ripped a one-out single and Chipper Jones followed with a base hit before Freeman crushed an 0-2 fastball from Halladay off the facing of the second deck in right field for the 3-0 lead.
The Braves put up four more runs in the second inning to seize control. Brian McCann led off the inning with a walk and Michael Bourn singled three batters later. Prado followed with a base on balls to load the bases before Heyward cleared the bags with a double into the right-field corner.
"It's frustrating. You're close to getting out of it," Halladay said. "They were not good pitches both times. You can't make multiple mistakes. It cost me and ultimately, it cost us. It's tough to battle back from seven runs down after two innings."
Halladay was removed for Jeremy Horst, who allowed an RBI double to Jones for a 7-0 advantage.
Philadelphia finally hit the scoreboard in the third when Kevin Frandsen led off the inning with a triple and scored on a sac fly to deep center by Ruf.
Howard smoked his milestone homer off the batter's eye in center field to pull the Phils within 7-2.
Bourn doubled to lead off the Atlanta eighth, moved to third on a groundout by Prado and scored easily when Jones laced a base hit through the right side.
Howard became just the second Phillie in team history to reach the 300-home run milestone. Mike Schmidt also accomplished the feat, on Aug. 14, 1981 against Mike Scott of the Mets ... Philadelphia fell to 12-5 in its last 17 day games ... The Phillies fell to 18-52 this season when scoring three or less runs ... Philadelphia finished 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left four on base.
09/22 21:21:09 ET