Pour one for the old guys, as the Phillies relied on some clutch hitting from the likes of Raul Ibanez and Ross Gload to walk 'em off against the Braves on Wednesday night by a score of 3-2 to finish off the sweep of their nearest National League East rival.
After tuning up the Atlanta arms in the first two games of the series, the Phillies needed to rely on a solid pitching outing from Roy Oswalt, who tossed seven solid innings of two-run ball, where he allowed four hits while striking out seven.
He was given early support from Ibanez, whose solo homer in the second inning appeared to be the start of another hitting clinic at the expense of Braves pitching. It was not meant to be, as Braves starter Brandon Beachy was stringy with the base runners, and would allow all of two hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings of work.
Atlanta finally got in the hit column in the top of the fifth, when Michael Bourn led off the inning with a double, and would later come around to score on an RBI single from Chipper Jones to even things up.
It would remain a tie game until the seventh, when the Braves strung together a few hits off Oswalt, including an RBI single from Freddie Freeman, who plated Jason Heyward from second base to put the Phillies in a one-run hole to have to face the back end of the vaunted Atlanta 'pen.
Eric O'Flaherty shut the Phillies down in the seventh, and handed the ball over to Jonny Venters, their hard-throwing left-handed setup man. He allowed a leadoff single to John Mayberry, Jr. and after a sacrifice bunt from Wilson Valdez, he set down Shane Victorino on strikes, only to have Placido Polanco shoot a soft liner to right field that scored Mayberry from second to tie things up at two.
After Ryan Madson (4-2) held the Braves scoreless in the top of the ninth, the Phillies went to work on Peter Moylan (1-1), who was charged with sending the game to extra innings. With Ibanez on first thanks to a one out walk, Carlos Ruiz shot one past Chipper Jones and into left field to move Ibanez into scoring position with one away. Enter pinch-hitter Ross Gload, who, bad hip and all, sent a single down the right field line to score Ibanez and give the Phillies the win, the sweep and a double-digit lead in the division.
The Phillies take their game on the road to Milwaukee, where they will take on the N.L. Central-leading Brewers in a four-game set. In the series opener, Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.63) faces off against Chris Narverson (10-6, 4.26).
Chase Utley left the game in the bottom of the eighth inning for precautionary reasons stemming from getting hit in the head by an Eric O'Flaherty pitch in the bottom of the sixth. According to the Phillies, he will be undergoing tests to determine if he has a concussion and will likely be out for at least a couple games.
This is the first time all season that the Braves were swept in a three-game series.
Following this series, the Braves are now only leading the Wild Card by 6 1/2 games over the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals.