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Philadelphia at Atlanta

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Philadelphia (73-66)3200003008171
Atlanta (71-69) «0000020439150

Braves score four in eighth, three in ninth to rally against Phillies

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- The Braves will have a hard time making the playoffs, despite their most remarkable comeback of the season. So they went ahead and celebrated as though this one was for a championship.

Matt Diaz capped an improbable rally with a two-out, three-run double in the ninth inning, giving Atlanta a 9-8 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

The Phillies squandered leads of 5-0 and 8-2, giving up four runs in the eighth and watching in disbelief as Diaz's liner skidded off the tip of Chris Robertson's glove with the bases loaded.

"I'm not believing that," said Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel, whose team remained five games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets. "I totally can't believe that. I've never seen that -- ever. It's mind-boggling."

The Braves' chances looked slim when Brett Myers (3-6) retired the first two hitters in the ninth with an 8-6 lead. But Jeff Francoeur and Martin Prado hustled to beat out infield hits, and Yunel Escobar walked to load the bases.

That brought up Diaz, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh. He went the opposite way with a liner that eluded Roberson's lunging attempt and stuck at the base of the wall.

Roberson hit the relay man, but the throw home was up the first-base line. Escobar slid across with the winning run, thrusting his right index finger toward the stands. Diaz, who had just rounded second, pumped his fists and was mobbed by his teammates in a wild pile beside the pitcher's mound.

"When I got it in the air, I thought I got too much," Diaz said. "I didn't realize how shallow he was playing."

Manuel remained on the top step of the dugout for at least a minute, watching the celebration and subtly shaking his head. Finally, he headed for the clubhouse.

"It didn't look good," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "But we did it."

The Braves still must face reality. They won for just the second time in six games on a crucial homestand against their top two rivals in the NL East, having been swept by the Mets last weekend.

Atlanta is 7½ games behind New York, which lost 7-0 to Cincinnati.

"Whatever happens, we're going to play till the end," Francoeur said. "That was the most exciting game of the year for me."

Braves starter Tim Hudson allowed five runs in the first two innings, and the Phillies added three more in the seventh off Oscar Villareal for an 8-2 lead. Rafael Soriano (3-3) picked up the win with a scoreless ninth.

Atlanta sent 10 hitters to the plate in the eighth, scoring four runs off Tom Gordon. But it looked like another frustrating finish for the Braves when Kelly Johnson popped out on a 2-0 pitch from Myers with the bases loaded, then Chipper Jones hit a lazy fly to left for the third out, slamming his bat in disgust.

Gordon blamed himself for letting the Braves back in the game.

"It's devastating," he said. "We need to win those kind of games. I take responsibility for it."

Myers struck out Mark Teixeira to start the ninth, and Brayan Pena grounded out to first. Francoeur hit a grounder past third that shortstop Jimmy Rollins fielded in the outfield grass, giving him no chance to throw out the runner. Prado followed with a high hopper off the plate, just beating Myers' throw to first, which pulled Ryan Howard off the bag anyway.

"When Prado got that base hit off home plate, I thought, 'Uh oh, something's going to happen here,'" Atlanta's Willie Harris said.

He was right. Diaz came through with the biggest hit of all, giving the Braves a glimmer of hope in the playoff race. The team that won 14 consecutive division titles from 1991-2005 has only 22 games left to avoid missing the playoffs for the second year in a row.

"It happened so fast," Myers said. "The game got out of control: cheap hits, balls falling in."

Hudson gave up 11 hits in five innings. The remarkable comeback kept him from his third loss in a row and kept the Braves (71-69) above .500.

"This is the kind of win we've been needing for a long time," Hudson said.

Pat Burrell hit his 25th homer in the second, a two-out drive over the center-field wall that put Philadelphia ahead 5-0.

Kyle Kendrick breezed through the first five innings, allowing just three hits. The Braves finally broke through in the sixth, knocking out the rookie with three consecutive hits that included Harris' leadoff homer.

The Phillies escaped with a 5-2 lead when Aaron Rowand raced over from center to make a sliding catch on Francoeur's blooper toward left, then Andruw Jones struck out against Kane Davis.

"We had no business winning this game as lousy as we played the first few innings," Chipper Jones said. "We got lucky."

Notes

  • Kendrick's five-inning stint was the shortest of his surprising debut season.
  • Braves SS Edgar Renteria took grounders before the game and expects to come off the disabled list before Friday's game against the Nationals.
  • Hudson has allowed 14 runs and 26 hits over his last three starts, covering 16 innings.
  • Braves C Brian McCann left in the eighth after tweaking his left ankle -- which has bothered him most of the season -- while running the bases. He is day to day.
 
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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Matt Diaz (right) celebrates his two-out, two-run double that concludes the comeback victory.  (AP)
Matt Diaz (right) celebrates his two-out, two-run double that concludes the comeback victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

M. Diaz
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 4
Philadelphia

C. Utley
AB 3
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS5110102 .296
Chase Utley, 2B3132100 .341
Pat Burrell, LF3221211 .264
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
    Tom Gordon, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Ruiz, C1010000 .262
Ryan Howard, 1B5010108 .269
Aaron Rowand, CF5121012 .313
Greg Dobbs, 3B3110110 .282
    Chris Roberson, RF1010000 .308
Jayson Werth, RF-LF5122001 .323
Chris Coste, C5010015 .306
    Brett Myers, P0000000 .000
Kyle Kendrick, P3010010 .171
    J.C. Romero, P0000000 .000
    Kane Davis, P0000000 .000
   a- Pete Laforest, PH1111000 .385
    Abraham Nunez, 3B1000000 .235
Totals41817765  
a-singled for Davis in the 7th
Batting
2B - Aaron Rowand (39, Hudson)
3B - Jimmy Rollins (17, Hudson)
HR - Pat Burrell (25, Hudson)
SF - Chase Utley (6)
RBI - Chase Utley 2 (90), Pat Burrell (81), Aaron Rowand (79), Jayson Werth 2 (33), Pete Laforest (4)
2-OUT RBI - Chase Utley (34), Pat Burrell (22), Aaron Rowand (38), Jayson Werth 2 (15), Pete Laforest (3)
Team LOB - 14
Fielding
E - Chris Roberson (1, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Kendrick 5622021 3.78
J.C. Romero (H,18) 0.1000100 2.57
Kane Davis (H,1) 0.2000010 4.91
Geoff Geary 1100010 4.91
Tom Gordon 0.1444000 6.49
Brett Myers (BS,2; L,3-6) 1.1433310 5.09
WP - Brett Myers (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Kendrick 88-57, J.C. Romero 8-4, Kane Davis 8-6, Geoff Geary 20-13, Tom Gordon 15-11, Brett Myers 45-26
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Kendrick 6-7, Brett Myers 1-2
Batters Faced - Kyle Kendrick 21, J.C. Romero 2, Kane Davis 2, Geoff Geary 4, Tom Gordon 5, Brett Myers 11
Atlanta Braves
Willie Harris, LF-CF4122101 .288
Kelly Johnson, 2B5120015 .290
Chipper Jones, 3B5121005 .329
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Mark Teixeira, 1B4000112 .299
Brian McCann, C4020002 .277
    Chris Woodward, PR0100000 .192
    Corky Miller, C0000000 .235
   a- Brayan Pena, PH1000000 .240
Jeff Francoeur, RF5221013 .292
Andruw Jones, CF3000013 .225
    Jose Ascanio, P0000000 .000
   b- Scott Thorman, PH1110000 .221
    Martin Prado, 3B1110000 .311
Yunel Escobar, SS3110201 .326
Tim Hudson, P1000000 .242
   c- Pete Orr, PH1000000 .183
    Royce Ring, P0000000 .000
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .250
    Matt Diaz, LF3024011 .350
Totals41915845  
a-grounded out for Miller in the 9th
b-singled for Ascanio in the 8th
c-popped out for Hudson in the 5th
Batting
2B - Kelly Johnson (25, Kendrick), Chipper Jones 2 (38, Kendrick, Gordon), Matt Diaz (20, Myers)
HR - Willie Harris (2, Kendrick)
RBI - Willie Harris 2 (28), Chipper Jones (82), Jeff Francoeur (86), Matt Diaz 4 (42)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Diaz 3 (12)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Andruw Jones 1
DP - Escobar-Johnson-Teixeira
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson 51155241 3.47
Royce Ring 1000200 3.06
Oscar Villarreal 0.2433100 4.44
Jose Ascanio 1.1100110 3.48
Rafael Soriano (W,3-3) 1100000 3.39
HBP - Utley (by Rafael Soriano)
WP - Oscar Villarreal (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 96-64, Royce Ring 21-9, Oscar Villarreal 19-14, Jose Ascanio 21-11, Rafael Soriano 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 6-3, Royce Ring 3-0, Jose Ascanio 1-2
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 26, Royce Ring 5, Oscar Villarreal 7, Jose Ascanio 6, Rafael Soriano 5
Game Information
Attendance - 22115
Game Time - 3:46
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Adam Dowdy, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Rick Reed