The second half gets underway finally, with the Braves jumping back into first with a win over the Phils coupled with a Natspos loss to the Brewers. Ervin Santana wasn’t particularly sharp, but he was sharper than A.J. Burnett, and notched his 8th win of the year.
The Phils opened up the scoring in the second, with leadoff walks to Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd. They came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Cody Asche and a single by Cameron Rupp. However, further trouble was averted when Burnett couldn’t get the bunt down and hit into a 3-6-4 double play with a nice stretch by Tommie LaStella on the back end.
The Braves responded quickly with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Jason Heyward homered, then with two outs, the Braves had four straight hits to score three more. Singles by Christian Bethancourt and Santana were followed by a double from B.J. Upton, who then scored on Andrelton Simmons single.
Our Heroes added two more in the 5th, with Heyward singling in Justin Upton and LaStella singling in Heyward. The Phillies got two more in the 6th, with Jimmy Rollins reaching on an error, Chase Utley doubling him to third, and Howard driving in both with a single, because it’s Turner Field and Ryan Howard will be driving in runs at Turner Field three years after he’s dead. But Santana buckled down and finished the inning and turned it over to the pen. Shae Simmons worked a 1-2-3 seventh. Jordan Waldren walked Rollins to start the eighth, but struck out the Dark Lord on a nasty 3-2 pitch in the dirt. Rollins tried to run on Bethancourt but the ball hit the umpire’s shin guard, and Bethancourt pounced on it and gunned down Rollins in a play that had no right to look as easy as it was. Craig Kimbrel did his Kraken thing in the ninth for his 30th save.
It’s time to drive a stake into the Phillies, which is easier said than done with Cole Hamels going tonight against Big Handsome Aaron Harang.