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LaRoche makes Gordon-less Phillies pay in ninth-inning win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

PHILADELPHIA -- The absence of All-Star closer Tom Gordon is costing the Philadelphia Phillies important games.

Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer off Arthur Rhodes in the ninth inning to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Phillies in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Saturday.

Chase Utley hit two homers to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead, but Rhodes blew his second straight save opportunity. Filling in for the injured Gordon, Rhodes (0-4) also wasted a two-run lead in the ninth inning of a 6-5, 10-inning loss to Washington on Thursday night.

Jon Lieber pitched eight solid innings, before giving way to the bullpen. Ryan Madson allowed an infield single to Jeff Francoeur leading off the ninth and Rhodes came in to face the left-handed LaRoche, who drove a 1-0 pitch deep into the right-field seats for his 28th homer.

"I figured something hard was coming," LaRoche said. "He left it out a little."

It was the second homer Rhodes has allowed in 44 1-3 innings this season.

"Today is worse because we were winning and I come in, make a bad pitch and they take the lead," Rhodes said.

Tyler Yates (2-4) pitched 1 1/3 innings to earn the win. He struck out Utley to leave the bases loaded in the eighth after getting David Dellucci to bounce out with the bases loaded to end the seventh. Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 11th save in as many chances

The Phillies, who've steadily climbed in the standings since overhauling their roster before the July 31st trade deadline, fell one game behind San Diego for first place in the NL wild-card race.

"The last two we played, they were games we had, games we let slip away," manager Charlie Manuel said.

Gordon was placed on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder on Aug. 21. He was scheduled to make his second rehab appearance at Single-A Clearwater on Saturday, and could rejoin the Phillies if he doesn't have any setbacks.

A day after the series opener was postponed because of rain from tropical depression Ernesto, there was a 1-hour, 32-minute rain delay at the start.

Once the game got under way, the Phillies quickly jumped ahead of the Braves in the first inning against Oscar Villarreal. Utley, coming off a 6-for-34 road trip, broke out of that slump with a two-run shot that gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Victorino reached on an infield single, before Utley lined his 23rd homer to right field.

Utley struck out to leave two runners on in the second, but ripped a solo shot in nearly the same spot as his first homer to make it 3-0 in the fifth. The All-Star second baseman has five multihomer games this season, and nine in his career.

The Braves cut it to 3-2 on a two-run single by pinch-hitter Daryle Ward with two outs in the seventh.

LaRoche singled and Ryan Langerhans doubled after Lieber retired the first two batters. Ward, in his first at-bat with the Braves after being acquired in a trade with Washington on Thursday night, hit a sharp single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch to score both runners.

"It was a bad pitch on my part, got too much of the plate," Lieber said.

Lieber, who 17 games last year and was outstanding down the stretch, has been inconsistent in his second season with the Phillies. He's allowed four earned runs or more in 12 of his 22 starts. However, Lieber has pitched well since a terrible outing against Florida on July 31 in which he gave up nine runs in 4 2-3 innings. Lieber is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA since the loss to the Marlins.

Villarreal allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings in his fourth straight start after pitching in relief most of the season.

"Our bullpen really stood out," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

Notes

  • LaRoche extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the fifth.
  • Phillies LF Pat Burrell made a diving catch on a sinking liner by Pete Orr leading off the sixth.
  • Orr started for 2B Marcus Giles, who was a late scratch because he was feeling ill.
  • Pinch-hitter Randall Simon singled to left in his first at-bat for the Phillies after being acquired from Texas on Friday. It was Simon's first hit in the majors since Sept. 3, 2004 with Tampa Bay.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Arthur Rhodes can't look as Adam LaRoche rounds  the bases after LaRoche's game-tying home run.  (AP)
Arthur Rhodes can't look as Adam LaRoche rounds the bases after LaRoche's game-tying home run. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

A. LaRoche
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Philadelphia

C. Utley
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
 

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Atlanta Braves
Pete Orr, 2B4000012
   a- Martin Prado, PH-2B1000010
Edgar Renteria, SS4010001
Chipper Jones, 3B4010011
Andruw Jones, CF4010011
Brian McCann, C4000002
Jeff Francoeur, RF4120010
Adam LaRoche, 1B4232001
Ryan Langerhans, LF4110001
Oscar Villarreal, P1000001
    Joey Devine, P0000000
   b- Daryle Ward, PH1012000
    Tony Pena, PR0000000
    Macay McBride, P0000000
    Tyler Yates, P0000000
   c- Brian Jordan, PH1000010
    Bob Wickman, P0000000
Totals3641040610 
a-struck out for Orr in the 9th
b-singled for Devine in the 7th
c-struck out for Yates in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ryan Langerhans (, Lieber)
3B - Jeff Francoeur (, Lieber)
HR - Adam LaRoche (, Rhodes)
SH - Oscar Villarreal ()
RBI - Adam LaRoche 2 (), Daryle Ward 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Daryle Ward 2 ()
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Renteria-Orr-LaRoche
Atlanta Braves
Oscar Villarreal 5733132
Joey Devine 1000220
Macay McBride 0.2100100
Tyler Yates (W,-) 1.1300120
Bob Wickman (S,) 1000020
IBB - Nunez by Joey Devine
Pitches-Strikes - Oscar Villarreal 82-50, Joey Devine 21-11, Macay McBride 14-6, Tyler Yates 31-21, Bob Wickman 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oscar Villarreal 5-6, Macay McBride 2-0, Tyler Yates 2-0
Batters Faced - Oscar Villarreal 22, Joey Devine 5, Macay McBride 4, Tyler Yates 8, Bob Wickman 3
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS5000013
Shane Victorino, CF5140000
Chase Utley, 2B5223026
Ryan Howard, 1B3010220
Pat Burrell, LF3010101
    Chris Roberson, PR-RF0000000
   a- Jeff Conine, PH1000000
David Dellucci, RF-LF4000115
Chris Coste, C4000013
Abraham Nunez, 3B3010100
Jon Lieber, P3010022
   b- Randall Simon, PH1010000
    Joe Thurston, PR0000000
    Ryan Madson, P0000000
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000
Totals3731135920 
a-flied out for Roberson in the 9th
b-singled for Lieber in the 8th
Batting
2B - Shane Victorino (, McBride)
HR - Chase Utley 2 (, Villarreal, Villarreal)
RBI - Chase Utley 3 ()
2-OUT RBI - Chase Utley ()
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Shane Victorino 1
DP - Victorino-Rollins-Utley
E - Chase Utley (, )
Philadelphia Phillies
Jon Lieber 8822040
Ryan Madson0111000
Arthur Rhodes (BS,; L,-) 1111021
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lieber 91-64, Ryan Madson 5-3, Arthur Rhodes 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lieber 10-10, Arthur Rhodes 1-0
Batters Faced - Jon Lieber 32, Ryan Madson 1, Arthur Rhodes 4
Game Information
Attendance - 31717
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Larry Young, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - James Hoye