Phillies Fall To Braves 6-2 To Cap Another Sweep
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Phillies didn’t make a strong case on the field this weekend for keeping their team together.
Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward homered off Roy Halladay, and the Atlanta Braves completed a three-game sweep of last-place Philadelphia with a 6-2 victory Sunday.
The sweep could turn the Phillies into sellers before Tuesday’s deadline for trades without waivers.
“I guess there’s going to be a lot of thinking going on, evidently,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’ll wait and see.”
Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton have been mentioned in trade speculation. Victorino and others lobbied after the game for management to keep the team intact.
“We’ve got 60 games,” Victorino said. “That’s my goal, to play 60 games here.
“I’m wearing a ‘P’ on my hat, ‘Phillies’ across my chest. I want it to be here.”
Victorino, who has been with Philadelphia since 2005, had three hits, including a homer.
Asked whether the Phillies will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, Manuel said “I think where we’re at speaks for itself.
“We’re definitely behind. We would have to come a long way. … We’ve still got a heartbeat.”
Halladay (4-6), a two-time Cy Young Award winner, allowed three runs and six hits in six innings with seven strikeouts, dropping to 0-1 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts after missing seven weeks with a strained right lat muscle. He got his 2,000th strikeout in the first inning, fanning David Ross.
Halladay said the sweep hurt the Phillies’ chances to make a second-half run.
“There’s been a lot of damaging moments, I think,” Halladay said. “It’s been frustrating.
“But we have no choice but to keep on playing. We owe it to the fans, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to a lot of people.”
Halladay also said he hopes the team is not dismantled.
“There are decisions that have to be made, and that’s part of it,” he said. “It’s not easy to swallow. Hopefully, they aren’t going to just do things to do them. … I hope that we keep that guys that we have.”
Atlanta also swept a three-game series at Philadelphia from July 6-8. The Braves have won six straight over the Phillies for the first time since 1996-97, according to STATS LLC.
“I think mentally as a team you’ve got to get over certain humps and Philly as a team has been a big hump for us,” Jones said. “They’ve been winning the division for a long time, and they’ve handled us pretty well. Now we’ve got to get over that hump of beating the Nationals.”
In danger of ending a streak of consecutive playoff appearances at five, Philadelphia (45-57) is last in the NL East this late in a season for the first time since Aug. 12, 2002, STATS said.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Phillies are still a dangerous team.
“They’re a good club and they still scare you,” Gonzalez said. “They’re not clicking on all cylinders right now for whatever reason. But they still have got a pretty good pitching staff and they’ve got those guys in the middle of the lineup.
“They’re still a respectable team and I still respect them, just for the fact they’re a veteran group of guys that have won championships and a World Series. To me it’s just a matter of time before they get it going.”
Atlanta, which remained four games behind first-place Washington in the NL East, has won five straight.
Tim Hudson (10-4) gave up two runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings and combined with Ben Sheets and Mike Minor to give Braves starters four runs and one walk allowed in the series.
Hudson has reached 10 wins despite missing most of the first month while recovering from back surgery. He is 4-0 with a 3.19 ERA in his last five starts.
Jonny Venters, Chad Durbin, Eric O’Flaherty and Cristhian Martinez followed with two-hit relief.
With the Braves ahead 3-2, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run single off Jake Diekman in a three-run seventh.
Atlanta took a 2-0 lead in the first as five straight hitters reached with two outs. Heyward hit a first-pitch homer, his 16th home run of the season, and Dan Uggla stopped an 0-for-21 slump with an RBI double.
Jones led off the third with his 10th homer, pushing the lead to 3-0. He has 1,042 extra-base hits, passing Pete Rose for sole possession of second place for switch-hitters, behind Eddie Murray’s 1,099.
Victorino led off the fourth with his ninth homer and Carlos Ruiz knocked out Hudson with an RBI single in the sixth.
Diekman dropped Heyward’s grounder for a run-scoring error in the seventh.
NOTES: Gonzalez expects SS Andrelton Simmons, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a broken right little finger on July 13, to need six weeks to recover, including an injury rehab stint. That would place his return around Aug. 24. … Laynce Nix made his first start of the season in right field. Hunter Pence, who had started 100 of the first 101 games in right field, remained in right field after his pinch single in the sixth. … The Phillies are off Monday and open a series at Washington on Tuesday night with LHP Cliff Lee on the mound. Braves RHP Tommy Hanson will face Miami LHP Mark Buehrle in the opener of a four-game series on Monday night.
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