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Atlanta (14-16) «010030020690
Philadelphia (15-13)000100010250

Vazquez bounces back, pair of two-run bombs help Braves roll

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Javier Vazquez kept his pitches down and in the strike zone. Even in a hitter-friendly park, that's a formula for success.

Vazquez pitched neatly into the eighth inning, Yunel Escobar and Brian McCann hit two-run homers and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Saturday.

Vazquez (3-3) allowed two runs and four hits, striking out seven in 7 2/3 innings. He had no walks and also helped himself with a double that started a three-run rally in the fifth.

"Anytime you win here is a good win," Vazquez said. "They score a lot of runs. You can't walk people in parks like this, and I was getting my first pitch over for strikes."

Chase Utley hit his 10th homer and Raul Ibanez also went deep for the Phillies, who got another poor performance from a starting pitcher. Joe Blanton (1-3) gave up six runs and eight hits in eight innings.

Blanton's shaky start was the latest in a slew of rough outings for a rotation that played a vital role in helping the Phillies win the World Series last season. Philadelphia's starters are 7-10 with a 6.47 ERA.

"It's one of those where you can go home and take a lot of positives out of it," Blanton said. "Ninety-eight percent of the time, if I throw the ball that well, I'm not going to give up six runs."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was somewhat encouraged.

"Overall, he battled, changed speeds," Manuel said. "His mistakes got him in trouble. The ball is carrying right now."

Vazquez was hitless in his first 12 at-bats this season before lining a one-out double down the left-field line in the fifth. He scored on Kelly Johnson's double. Escobar followed with a drive to the seats in left-center for a 4-1 lead.

McCann, wearing glasses after missing 13 games with an eye infection, connected in the eighth to make it 6-1. McCann wore a new mask behind the plate and didn't have trouble with his glasses fogging up.

Ibanez hit one into the second deck in right field in the eighth for his ninth homer.

Utley is off to another strong start. The All-Star second baseman belted 21 of his career-best 33 homers in the first 59 games last year, but hit only 12 in the final 103 games. He played through a hip injury, waiting until after the season to have surgery.

Jeff Francoeur lined an RBI single off the wall in left to give the Braves a 1-0 lead in the second.

Vazquez bounced back from two subpar starts. He gave up 11 runs in 14 2/3 innings against St. Louis and the New York Mets, losing both games.

"He's really pitched well all year," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He's been in every game he's started."

Notes

  • The Phillies fell to 0-9 when they score three runs or less. They're 15-4 when they score at least four runs.
  • Francoeur has a 10-game hitting streak.
  • Braves CF Jordan Schafer is hitting .161 (5-for-31) with 17 strikeouts in his last eight games.
  • Chipper Jones has a 29-game hitting streak against the Phillies.
  • McCann is 6-for-7 with two homers and six RBI against Blanton.
  • Vazquez improved to 11-7 against the Phillies, beating them for the first time since Aug. 23, 2003, with the Montreal Expos.
 
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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After two straight dismal outings, Javier Vazquez strikes out seven and gives up four hits. (US Presswire)
After two straight dismal outings, Javier Vazquez strikes out seven and gives up four hits. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Philadelphia

C. Utley
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B5111011 .230
Yunel Escobar, SS5112002 .287
Chipper Jones, 3B4110010 .294
Garret Anderson, LF3100101 .163
Brian McCann, C4132000 .250
Casey Kotchman, 1B4000023 .298
Jeff Francoeur, RF4011001 .283
Jordan Schafer, CF4010012 .232
Javier Vazquez, P3110002 .071
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
   a- Martin Prado, PH0000100 .281
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
Totals3669625  
a-walked for O'Flaherty in the 9th
Batting
2B - Kelly Johnson (4, Blanton), Jordan Schafer (7, Eyre), Javier Vazquez (1, Blanton)
HR - Yunel Escobar (3, Blanton), Brian McCann (3, Blanton)
RBI - Kelly Johnson (10), Yunel Escobar 2 (16), Brian McCann 2 (11), Jeff Francoeur (18)
2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann 2 (9)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Escobar-Johnson-Kotchman
Atlanta Braves
Javier Vazquez (W,3-3) 7.2422072 3.88
Eric O'Flaherty 0.1000000 2.38
Mike Gonzalez 1100010 3.55
Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 115-74, Eric O'Flaherty 7-4, Mike Gonzalez 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 7-8, Eric O'Flaherty 1-0, Mike Gonzalez 1-1
Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 26, Eric O'Flaherty 1, Mike Gonzalez 4
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4000011 .203
Shane Victorino, CF4000000 .281
Chase Utley, 2B4121010 .323
Ryan Howard, 1B4000011 .279
Jayson Werth, RF3010020 .290
Raul Ibanez, LF3111001 .339
Greg Dobbs, 3B3000010 .154
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
Chris Coste, C3010020 .204
Joe Blanton, P2000001 .125
   a- Matt Stairs, PH0000000 .267
   b- Pedro Feliz, PH-3B1000000 .305
Totals3125208  
a-announced for Blanton in the 8th
b-grounded out for Stairs in the 8th
Batting
2B - Chase Utley (2, Gonzalez), Chris Coste (5, Vazquez)
HR - Chase Utley (10, Vazquez), Raul Ibanez (9, Vazquez)
RBI - Chase Utley (23), Raul Ibanez (23)
Team LOB - 2
Philadelphia Phillies
Joe Blanton (L,1-3) 8866152 6.82
Scott Eyre 1100100 5.40
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 110-77, Scott Eyre 23-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 9-10, Scott Eyre 3-0
Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 33, Scott Eyre 5
Game Information
Attendance - 45339
Game Time - 2:29
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Jerry Meals