Sizzling Braves shoot for series win in south Philly
The Atlanta Braves are running away in the NL East.
The Philadelphia Phillies are struggling just to stay in third in the division in what's become a lost season for Charlie Manuel's club.
The Braves will try for their ninth consecutive victory in the continuation of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
Atlanta's 6-4 win last night kept the Braves a gaudy 11 1/2 games ahead of the Washington Nationals in the division.
"Everything's a run, whether you get a good run of hitting or a good run of pitching," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It seems like our run of pitching has been really consistent all year."
The Phillies and New York Mets are each 14 1/2 games back. Philadelphia is also 9 1/2 games off the pace in the wild card standings in what's become a difficult stretch for the host team. The Phillies have dropped 11 of their last 12 games.
Braves righty Brandon Beachy makes his second start since coming off the disabled list. Beachy, who was recovering all season from Tommy John surgery, was pounded for eight hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings of a no-decision. He's 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA in seven career games against the Phillies.
John Lannan will get the start on three days' rest for the Phils.
The Phillies had to shuffle their rotation this weekend due to Jonathan Pettibone going on the 15-day disabled list. Lannan gave up seven hits and three runs in seven strong innings of a 7-3 win over the Giants this week. He's 9-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 16 career contests versus the Braves.
Last night, Brian McCann and Chris Johnson stroked back-to-back homers as part of a five-run fifth inning for Atlanta. Johnson added a double in Atlanta's eighth straight victory to extend his streak of multi-hit games to eight, tying a franchise record for the longest such stretch in club history.
Hall of Famer Hank Aaron was the last Brave to record eight straight multi-hit games back in 1959.
Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Joey Terdoslavich chipped in with an RBI apiece to provide just enough run support for starter Kris Medlen (8-10), who struck out eight and gave up four runs on six hits over six frames to earn the win.
David Carpenter and Jordan Walden each pitched a perfect inning in relief before Craig Kimbrel fired a 1-2-3 ninth to secure his 32nd save.
In other team news, the Braves activated outfielder B.J. Upton off the disabled list and Gerald Laird was placed on the DL. Upton has been out since early July with a right adductor strain and is batting .177 with eight homers and 20 RBI this season.
Upton last played July 12 versus Cincinnati.
Atlanta did all of its damage against Philadelphia starter Ethan Martin, who was making his major league debut after lefty Cliff Lee was scratched from his second straight start with a neck strain. Lee will start Sunday night instead.
Martin (0-1) surrendered all six runs on eight hits and three walks over 4 1/3 frames.
"Adrenaline was going and I was trying to stay within myself the whole night," Martin said.
Delmon Young, Chase Utley and Darin Ruf each clubbed a solo shot for the Phillies. Ruf has reached base safely in a major-league best 30 straight games.
Atlanta leads the season series, 4-3.