Phillies complete sweep of Braves

Roy Oswalt delivers to Atlanta in the sixth. He worked seven innings, allowing two runs before giving way to Antonio Bastardo.
Roy Oswalt delivers to Atlanta in the sixth. He worked seven innings, allowing two runs before giving way to Antonio Bastardo. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 08, 2011

When a fastball by Atlanta's Eric O'Flaherty caromed high off Chase Utley's helmet in the sixth inning of Wednesday's game at Citizens Bank Park, the stoic second baseman reacted predictably. That is, he didn't react at all. He simply trotted to first base.

But Utley was dazed enough to ask home plate umpire Jerry Meals, "What happened?" before he took the base. And when he was removed for pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the eighth inning of the Phillies' come-from-behind 3-2 win, it was apparent something was wrong.

The club announced it was a precautionary move for a possible concussion. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Utley would probably be out a couple of days, and he wasn't certain if the second baseman would make the trip to Milwaukee, where the Phillies open a four-game series against the Central Division leaders Thursday.

"He won't play the next couple days at least," Amaro said. ". . . We're going to confer with Dr. [Michael] Ciccotti and [trainer] Scott Sheridan. Hopefully, he'll be back for the weekend."

Manager Charlie Manuel said Utley was removed because he was complaining of a headache.

"He was all right when he came into the dugout. He was fine," Manuel said. "He was all right until he got out on the field and started standing around. He said that's when he started getting headaches. He's in the trainer's room talking and he looks like he's doing OK."

Utley has never been one to move out of the way of a pitch. He has led the league in getting hit in the past, and he didn't appear to make much of an effort to get out of harm's way when O'Flaherty delivered his first pitch.

"He didn't see it. The ball hit him on top of the head," Manuel said. "He would have got out of the way if he could, but the ball was up and it was hard to see. He wasn't trying to get hit in the head."

Manuel said he thought Utley would be on the plane to Milwaukee, where the Phillies will play a four-game series against the NL Central Division leaders.

Meanwhile, the Phillies overcame a 2-1 deficit in the late innings against one of the game's top bullpens. Ross Gload, who was in a 3-for-34 funk, won the game with a single to score Raul Ibanez and complete a three-game sweep for the Phillies that dropped second-place Atlanta 10½ games behind.

"For me it's huge," Gload said. "I haven't had too many."

For the Phillies, the most notable positive to come out of the game was a solid performance by righthander Roy Oswalt. Manuel wanted to see if Oswalt, who has missed nine weeks of the season with back inflammation, had the arm strength to pitch effectively deep into the game.

Oswalt did just that, holding the Braves to two runs and four hits and striking out seven in seven innings. His fastball was consistently in the 92-93 m.p.h. range and a few hit 94. He threw 116 pitches.

"His arm strength was a little better than it was the last time," Manuel said.

Raul Ibanez continued swinging a hot bat. He gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead with his 250th home run in the second inning. Placido Polanco tied the game with a single in the eighth off tough lefthander Jonny Venters.

Atlanta starter Brandon Beachy was proving a worthy match for Oswalt until his night came to an end under odd circumstances. The young righthander thought he'd closed out the sixth inning when a liner to right by Polanco was ruled the third out after an apparent diving catch by Jason Heyward. The Phillies argued that the ball bounced into Heyward's glove and the call was changed after the umpires conferred, leaving Phillies on first and third with two out. That was it for Beachy, who was replaced by O'Flaherty.


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


 

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