Rain and the Braves can't beat the Phils

A few faithfuls brave a hard, steady rain before the start of Tuesday night's game at Citizens Bank Park. The contest against the Braves was delayed for two hours.
A few faithfuls brave a hard, steady rain before the start of Tuesday night's game at Citizens Bank Park. The contest against the Braves was delayed for two hours. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)

After a 1-hour, 52-minute delay, Vance Worley extended his winning streak to nine games.

Posted: September 07, 2011

It was late October weather, wet and raw, so it could have been viewed as typical for postseason baseball.

There was another aspect to Tuesday's Phillies-Braves game that channeled late October: They were going to get this game in if the players had to perform in kayaks. If not, the Phillies would have been burdened with three split doubleheaders and 25 games in the final 22 days of the regular season.

"Doubleheaders at this time of the year - we got two already," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We don't need three."

Anyway, the Phillies showed the few hardy folks who waited out an initial 1-hour, 52-minute delay a good time in a long, soggy but entertaining game at Citizens Bank Park.

The Vance Worley magic continued in a 6-3 win that left Atlanta 91/2 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. The rookie extended his winning streak to nine straight with six precarious innings, shaking loose from plenty of trouble while holding the Braves to two runs. It's the longest winning streak of any NL pitcher.

The Phillies have won each of Worley's last 14 starts, the most since they won 15 consecutive starts by Steve Carlton in 1972.

Also, the Phillies set a club record with their fourth straight 90-win season. It came in Game 138, fastest in club history.

Raul Ibanez had three hits and drove in three runs and Chase Utley hit his first home run in nearly three weeks. Ryan Madson followed a shutout inning by Brad Lidge to get his 28th save.

With the threat of rain lingering, scoring early was the way to go and the Phillies did so with two in the first. Utley sent a 2-2 pitch from Tim Hudson into the bullpen in center. Just as important as the homer, Utley showed for the second straight game he's breaking free from a 3-for-34 slump. The Phillies followed the homer with three consecutive singles with the last one by Ibanez accounting for the second run.

Worley's first high-wire act came in the fourth. Dan Uggla started it with his 33d homer and 18th since the all-star break, most in the big leagues. Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman followed with hard-hit singles, and it appeared the Braves were backing Worley into the ropes. Yet, the 23-year-old righthander escaped with no further damage.

Worley showed more mettle in the sixth after Atlanta loaded the bases with no out. Alex Gonzalez tied the game at 2-2 with a sacrifice fly, but that was it for the Braves and for Worley, who once again did the job, outpitching Hudson, who was 10-3 in his previous 16 starts.

It was a big night for Ibanez, who got his second RBI with a double in the two-run sixth as the Phillies took a 4-2 lead. Hunter Pence knocked in the other run, also with a double.

Ibanez was passed over in the starting lineup Monday even though a righthander started for the Braves. Instead, Manuel had John Mayberry Jr. in left field. Before the game, Manuel offered reasons why nothing much should be read into his decision. The 39-year-old Ibanez had played 14 innings Sunday and recently recovered from a groin strain. Also, Mayberry had some success against Derek Lowe, Monday's starter for the Braves.

Atlanta was within 4-3 after former Phillie Michael Bourne doubled, stole his 50th base, and scored on a fielder's choice off Michael Stutes in the seventh. The Phillies stretched their lead back to 6-3 in their half of the seventh. Ryan Howard got a thinking man's RBI, hitting the ball to the right side of the infield to score Shane Victorino. Then Ibanez ripped a run-scoring single for the three-run lead.

Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at rparrillo@phillynews.com or @rayparrilloinq on Twitter.


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