When the Phillies beat the Braves in two games Sept. 26-27, 2007, it was the final step for surging Philadelphia to move into a first-place tie with the faltering New York Mets, and from there the Phillies won the first of their five consecutive division titles by taking two of three in a season-ending series against Washington.
The Phillies all but owned the Braves from that point, going 47-28 against them beginning with those two crucial wins through their first game (and win) against them this season.
But now, the Braves have finally restored proper order to their relationship with the Phillies.
Jason Heyward homered in the first inning, Chipper Jones homered in the third, and the Braves led all the way Sunday in a 6-2 win at Turner Field against Roy Halladay to finish off their second series sweep against the Phillies in July.
Tim Hudson got his 10th win and the Braves improved to 13 games over .500 (57-44) for the first time this season, still four games behind National League East leader Washington.
“Mentally as a team you’ve got to get over certain humps, and Philly’s been a big hump for us to try and get over,” Jones said after the Braves improved to 15-5 in their past 20 games, including 6-0 against the Phillies. “We’ve been striving to compete with them in this division for a long time, and they’ve handled us pretty well. I think this is one of the humps that this team has to get over mentally, and we seem to have done it.
“Now we’ve got to get over that hump of beating the Nationals. The Nationals have had our number a little bit over the past couple of years, and they’re the team ahead of us. So we better get going.”
The last-place Phillies are 17-32 with a 4.66 ERA since June 2 and fell to 16-1/2 games behind Washington.
“They’re in our division and they’re a good team, regardless of whether they’re going well or not,” said Heyward, who homered on a first-pitch change-up from Halladay with two out in the first inning. “We can’t take it easy on them because they’re never going to take it easy on us.”
The Phillies led 1-0 in the first inning Friday, and the Braves led every inning for the rest of the series.
The king isn’t dead yet, but he’s weezing and has a faint pulse.
“They’re a good club,” Hudson (10-4) said after allowing seven hits, two runs and no walks in 5-2/3 innings. “They’ve had their troubles this year with health, and their confidence might be shaken a little bit. That’s the time you’ve got to take advantage of teams like that. They have it in them to be really good. It’s just that unfortunately for them, they got out of the gate slow. They weren’t healthy and it just kind of snowballed.”
The Braves have won 13 of Hudson’s 17 starts this season including five in a row. The Phillies have lost eight of Halladay’s last 11 starts, which would have been unthinkable before this season.
Halladay (4-6) pitched six innings and retired the last 10 batters he faced, but the Braves did enough damage early and late to beat the two-time former Cy Young Award winner in his third start since returning from the disabled list (sore shoulder). He’s 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in four starts against the Braves over the past two seasons, after going 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in three starts against them in 2010 including two complete games.
After Heyward hit his 16th homer – two shy of his career-best as a rookie in 2010 – Jones singled and Freddie Freeman walked. Dan Uggla followed with a pulled line-drive double to left field, snapping Uggla’s 0-for-21 skid over his past seven games. It was his first extra-base hit and first RBI in 13 games.
Jones’ first-pitch leadoff homer in the third inning was his 10th of the season and 464th of his career, and moved him past Pete Rose into sole possession of second place on the career extra-base hits list for switch-hitters with 1,042, behind Eddie Murray (1,099).
“Pete had a lot of doubles,” Jones said, laughing. “It’s another one of the milestones that when you get home from the ballgame and just say, ‘wow.’ Pete Rose had over 4,000 hits, and to past him in extra-base hits with 1,400 less hits than he had … is pretty cool.”
Shane Victorino homered off Hudson in the fourth and the Phillies added a run in the sixth before the Braves opened a big lead with a three-run seventh against reliever Jacob Diekman. All three runs were unearned after Diekman misplayed a ground ball.
“We’re taking advantage of some of the miscues they’ve made,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’ve got some timely hits and we’ve pitched. Go back and look at the last six games we’ve played against them we’ve had all those things, but the common denominator is we’ve pitched pretty well. [Pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] has done a terrific job with the game plan and Rossy and Mac [catchers David Ross and Brian McCann] have followed it to a T.”
Braves pitchers have a 1.67 ERA in the six July wins against the Phillies.
“It’s always important to get out [to an early lead] on Doc,” Jones said. “He’s not going to give you much. I think it’s the first mistake he’s made to me in a long time. The guy’s good. He’s a competititor. Probably didn’t have his best stuff early in the game, but kept his team in the game and gave them a chance through six or seven.
“He doesn’t have a nickname and all them Cy Youngs in his trophy case for nothing.”
It was Halladay’s nickname, “Doc,” that caused an restless night for Gonzalez. Near midnight Friday, Jones posted on his Twitter page, “Got a date wit the Doc tmrw.” Gonzalez’s son, Alex, saw the Tweet and relayed it to his father, who was worried that the 40-year-old third baseman was hurt again.
“This tweeting stuff is going to kill me,” said Gonzalez, who said he tossed and turned all night before he got to the ballpark Sunday and realized what Jones had meant.
“It was a good appointment I guess,” he said after the game.