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ATL@PHI: Schafer dives to make a fantastic catch

PHILADELPHIA -- With the non-waiver Trade Deadline standing at the end of this month, the Braves are contemplating adding another veteran reliever to their bullpen. There's a chance Peter Moylan and Kris Medlen will serve as valuable additions in August.

But as the Braves continue to prove they have the talent to compete with the game's best, they may soon come to the realization that they might need to upgrade the depth of their bullpen long before Moylan and Medlen are ready to return.

After battling Roy Halladay to a draw at Citizens Bank Park Friday night, the Braves saw Scott Proctor's struggles extended courtesy of a walk-off homer from Raul Ibanez to give the Phillies a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.

"It's definitely a good feeling, but you definitely don't try to do that," Ibanez said. "You don't try to do too much right there, but you try to get a good pitch to hit and drive it. And when that happens there's no better feeling as a player."

When Ibanez drilled the grooved fastball into the right-field seats to end the game, there was even more reason to question Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez's decision to go with Proctor, who has suffered a loss in three of his past nine appearances and surrendered three homers in the 6 1/3 innings encompassed in that span.

"We have a very good scouting report on him," Proctor said. "You've just got to go with your strengths. Execution is everything. If you execute, you're going to get outs. Unfortunately, it just seems like mistakes have been hit hard lately."

Saving closer Craig Kimbrel with the hope he would be able to preserve a lead in extras, Gonzalez went with Proctor instead of rookie reliever Cory Gearrin, who has compiled just one inning in the two appearances he's made since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett last week.

"You feel real comfortable with Scott Proctor in that situation to handle those guys," Gonzalez said. "We thought about bringing Gearrin in, but I think it's unfair bringing a young kid in that situation to pitch on the road."

This was just the fifth loss for the Braves in their past 19 games, and Proctor has been saddled with three losses during that span. But the veteran right-handed reliever's latest rough outing might not have occurred had the Braves done more from an offensive standpoint.

Just one of the Braves' final 20 batters reached base safely, and their 10th inning consisted of nine pitches Juan Perez threw on the way to recording three strikeouts.

With this series-opening setback, the Braves now stand 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Phillies in the National League East.

"Little by little, I think these guys are starting to realize in here that we can stand toe-to-toe and play with them and be competitive," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "Now it's just a matter of getting over the hump."

Halladay had not lost since the Braves conquered him with a Dan Uggla eighth-inning homer on May 15, and thanks to some nifty escape work in the fourth inning, the veteran hurler will go into the All-Star break not having lost in nearly two months. The Phillies' ace battled through some early-inning troubles and allowed just two earned runs on six hits over seven innings.

Jones extended his success against Halladay and helped the Braves draw first blood with his second-inning leadoff single. The veteran third baseman jogged to second base on a passed ball and sprinted home when Freddie Freeman sent an RBI single to shallow center.

Jones' fourth-inning double served as one of his seven hits in 13 career at-bats against Halladay, and also gave the Braves second and third with nobody out. After Freeman struck out, the only run the Braves scored in the frame came courtesy of an Uggla infield single that Wilson Valdez backhanded behind third base. After looking at the plate, he surprisingly didn't at least attempt to keep Brian McCann from scoring on the play.

"I felt like the inning we had second and third with nobody out, we missed our chance," Jones said. "Getting one was good, but getting two might have put us over the hump for the game."

Halladay had retired 10 straight batters before Nate McLouth made things interesting with a two-out triple in the seventh inning. But the big right-hander ended his night by getting his former Blue Jays teammate Eric Hinske to fly out to end the inning.

Pitching in Philadelphia for the first time since his Sept. 20 Major League debut, Brandon Beachy surrendered eight hits and allowed two earned runs in six innings. He has become very familiar with the Phillies, having made five of his 15 career starts against them. Friday's no-decision ended his run of four straight losses against the reigning NL East champs.

Beachy committed a costly balk -- the first of his career -- that helped the Phillies quickly erase their first deficit with Valdez's game-tying sacrifice fly to right. Given another lead two innings later, the rookie right-hander surrendered a game-tying homer to Carlos Ruiz in the bottom half of the fourth.

"It's tough losing a game like this to anybody, especially these guys in a series like this, especially as close as we are to them," Beachy said. "Yeah, it hurts." Comments