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September 1, 2009

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Strong pitching lifts Phillies past Braves

JOE Blanton got just enough run support for a change.

Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run, go-ahead double in the seventh inning and Blanton pitched seven strong innings to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night in Philadelphia.

"I was missing on the plate," Blanton said. "You just keep plugging away and sometimes you find it, sometimes you don't. It just happened to click in today."

Blanton (9-6) allowed one run on three hits in seven innings, making it 12 straight starts he has allowed three earned runs or less.

"Anytime in our starting rotation when we get our pitchers very consistent that makes our club much better and he's definitely been that," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's been very consistent for a long time now."

Due to a lack of run support, though, the right-hander was just 4-3 in his previous 11 appearances. It looked like more of the same Sunday night until the seventh inning when Ruiz broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run double to left.

The ball glanced off the end of the glove of Braves left fielder Garret Anderson before caroming to the wall, scoring Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz. Ruiz finished 3 for 3 with two doubles for the NL-East leading Phillies.

"That seventh got crazy," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We were playing Ruiz the other way. We almost made the catch."

Atlanta got a run back in the eighth on Chipper Jones' RBI single, but Scott Eyre came on in relief of Ryan Madson and got out of a two-on, no-out jam. Brian McCann grounded into a double play and Anderson grounded out to second.

In other National League games, it was: Marlins 6, Padres 4; Dodgers 3, Reds 2 (12 innings); Brewers 4, Pirates 1; Cardinals 2, Nationals 1; Mets 4, Cubs 1; Giants 9, Rockies 5; and Diamondbacks 4, Astros 3.

In the American League, it was: Tigers 4, Rays 3; Yankees 8, White Sox 3; Orioles 5, Indians 2; Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 0; Twins 5, Rangers 3; Angels 9, Athletics 1; and Royals 3, Mariners 0.

In San Francisco, Edgar Renteria hit a grand slam in the seventh inning as the Giants pulled even in the National League wild-card race with Colorado, beating the Rockies 9-5 for a three-game sweep.

The Giants moved into a second-place tie in the NL West with Colorado, six games behind Los Angeles. The Rockies lost their season-high fifth in a row.

In Cincinnati, Matt Kemp homered for Los Angeles' first run, then hit a sacrifice fly in the 12th inning to lift Los Angeles over Cincinnati.

The NL West leaders took two of three in the series, extending their lead over Colorado. No surprise at the outcome - the Dodgers are 22-4 against the Reds since 2006.


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