Philadelphia at Atlanta

Scoreboard
Philadelphia (85-67) «4000000116100
Atlanta (67-85)000000001171

Howard, Happ keep Phils atop NL East with win in Atlanta

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- J.A. Happ waited four years for a legitimate chance to join Philadelphia's starting rotation.

After winning his first career decision, maybe the 6-foot-6 rookie earned another a chance to start in five days.

Ryan Howard drove in the first run in Philadelphia's four-run first inning, and Happ pitched six scoreless innings to help the Phillies earn their season-high sixth consecutive victory -- 6-1 against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.

"It's awesome," Happ said. "I understand the kind of position we're in. I wanted to keep momentum on our side."

Howard, bidding to win his second NL MVP award in three years, has 29 RBI in his past 21 games and 137 this season to lead the majors.

Philadelphia remained a half-game ahead of New York in the NL East after the Mets beat the Nationals.

Happ (1-0) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two in his fourth career start and first since getting no decision July 9 in Philadelphia's 4-2 victory against St. Louis. His performance made manager Charlie Manuel glad he chose Happ over struggling Kyle Kendrick.

"I didn't know what I was going to get," Manuel said. "He's basically just looking for a chance."

Chad Durbin pitched the next 1 2/3 innings before a walk to Chipper Jones gave the Braves two baserunners in the eighth. J.C. Romero needed only two pitches, however, to retire Brian McCann on an infield pop up.

Clay Condrey gave up pinch-hitter Greg Norton's RBI single in the ninth, ruining a chance for the Phillies' pitching staff to earn its 12th shutout and tie Houston for the NL lead.

The Braves, who have lost two straight and 23 of 35, didn't get a runner in scoring position until Casey Kotchman's leadoff double in the fifth.

"I thought he threw good," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said of Happ.

Recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the third time this season on Sept. 1, Happ improved to 1-0 with a 2.11 ERA in three starts, far better than his work in three relief appearances, a span of 6 1/3 innings in which he has no record and 9.95 ERA.

"If you give a guy a chance, you don't know how he's going to react," Manuel said. "Heck, Columbus took the chance."

Happ only embarrassed himself in his debut last year, losing to the Mets after allowing three home runs and five runs in four innings. After Philadelphia drafted him in the third round of 2004, Happ opened his fourth consecutive year in the minors, this time as a non-roster invitee to spring training.

"I had a terrible bullpen before the game. But I felt good" after the four-run first, he said.

The Phillies won their eighth straight at Turner Field to become the first visiting team with that many consecutive victories in Atlanta since Cincinnati had a seven-game streak in 1980.

They took a 4-0 lead in the first off Jair Jurrjens, using the rookie's early control problems and his season-long difficulty in holding runners.

After Howard's RBI single made it 1-0, the Phillies led 2-0 when Jayson Werth stole third and scored when catcher Brian McCann threw the ball into left field.

Carlos Ruiz's two-run single ended Jurrjens' 43-pitch inning.

Jurrjens (13-10) gave up four runs, five hits and five walks in five innings. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino each stole a base for the Phillies, pushing Jurrjens' season total allowed to 27, most in the majors.

Three walks in the first didn't exactly help Jurrjens.

"I was trying to attack Jayson, but I lost the strike zone," Jurrjens said. "I wasn't getting the borderline calls because I was wild. It was a big, big mistake walking him."

Pedro Feliz's RBI groundout off reliever Blaine Boyer in the eighth made it 5-0. Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs ended the scoring with his 12th home run, a solo shot off Boyer in the ninth.

Notes

  • Jones is hitting .365 after going 1-for-3 with a walk to increase his lead over St. Louis' Albert Pujols by 11 points for the majors' best batting average. Pujols went 0-for-4 at Cincinnati.
  • Jones has reached base safely in 40 consecutive games.
  • With a single off Durbin in the eighth, Atlanta 2B Kelly Johnson has hit safely in 15 consecutive games.
  • Braves LHP Tom Glavine plans to begin exercises that use a baseball as a weight on Thursday, exactly four months since he underwent season-ending elbow surgery.
  • Philadelphia improved to 12-2 against the Braves this year, tying the 1956 and '65 Phillies for the club's single-season victories against Atlanta.
 
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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Rookie J.A. Happ pitches six scoreless innings to help Philly stay atop the NL East. (AP)
Rookie J.A. Happ pitches six scoreless innings to help Philly stay atop the NL East. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

C. Ruiz
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Philadelphia

J. Happ
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 2
 

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Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS5010000 .280
Chase Utley, 2B3100212 .288
Jayson Werth, RF4120111 .283
Ryan Howard, 1B3111201 .249
Pat Burrell, LF4010001 .250
    Eric Bruntlett, PR-LF1100012 .214
Shane Victorino, CF4130000 .288
Pedro Feliz, 3B3001101 .249
Carlos Ruiz, C3012102 .229
J.A. Happ, P1000012 .000
   a- Geoff Jenkins, PH1000010 .245
    Chad Durbin, P0000000 .111
    J.C. Romero, P0000000 .000
   b- Matt Stairs, PH1111000 .255
    Clay Condrey, P0000000 .333
Totals33610575  
a-struck out for Happ in the 7th
b-homered for Romero in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jayson Werth (15, Boyer)
HR - Matt Stairs (12, Boyer)
SH - J.A. Happ (2)
RBI - Ryan Howard (137), Pedro Feliz (53), Carlos Ruiz 2 (29), Matt Stairs (48)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Ruiz 2 (13)
SB - Jimmy Rollins (43, 2nd base off Jurrjens/McCann), Jayson Werth (18, off Jurrjens/McCann), Shane Victorino (33, 2nd base off Jurrjens/McCann)
Team LOB - 8
Philadelphia Phillies
J.A. Happ (W,1-0) 6300120 4.24
Chad Durbin 1.2200110 2.92
J.C. Romero 0.1000000 2.77
Clay Condrey 1211000 3.38
Pitches-Strikes - J.A. Happ 86-52, Chad Durbin 34-18, J.C. Romero 2-1, Clay Condrey 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J.A. Happ 5-11, Chad Durbin 2-2, Clay Condrey 2-1
Batters Faced - J.A. Happ 22, Chad Durbin 8, J.C. Romero 1, Clay Condrey 5
Atlanta Braves
Martin Prado, LF4000002 .319
Kelly Johnson, 2B4010000 .285
Chipper Jones, 3B3010100 .365
Brian McCann, C4000003 .299
Omar Infante, SS4000000 .296
Casey Kotchman, 1B4020000 .274
Jeff Francoeur, RF4120012 .235
Josh Anderson, CF3000013 .260
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
   a- Greg Norton, PH1011000 .265
Jair Jurrjens, P1000010 .107
   b- Yunel Escobar, PH0000100 .288
    Brandon Jones, PR0000000 .265
    Vladimir Nunez, P0000000 .000
    Gregor Blanco, CF2000001 .254
Totals3417123  
a-singled for Boyer in the 9th
b-walked for Jurrjens in the 5th
Batting
2B - Casey Kotchman (28, Happ)
RBI - Greg Norton (35)
2-OUT RBI - Greg Norton (12)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Johnson-Kotchman, Jones-Kotchman, Jones-Johnson-Kotchman
E - Brian McCann (9, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
Jair Jurrjens (L,13-10) 5544520 3.72
Vladimir Nunez 2.1311120 4.73
Blaine Boyer 1.2211111 5.88
IBB - Howard by Blaine Boyer
Pitches-Strikes - Jair Jurrjens 97-55, Vladimir Nunez 46-32, Blaine Boyer 27-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jair Jurrjens 3-8, Vladimir Nunez 3-1, Blaine Boyer 3-1
Batters Faced - Jair Jurrjens 23, Vladimir Nunez 10, Blaine Boyer 8
Game Information
Attendance - 32821
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Randy Marsh, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Marvin Hudson