08/12/07 10:50 PM ET
Howard's blast sends Phils past Braves
Slugger's go-ahead home run helps Moyer secure 11th victory
By Stephen Fastenau / MLB.com
In a series high on drama, the Phillies spotted the Braves the lead in all three games. They roared back on Friday to win and nearly did the same on Saturday. Starter Jamie Moyer began Sunday by allowing three straight hits, putting the Phillies in a 2-0 hole.Philadelphia answered with a run in the first, but was denied a second when Burrell was gunned down at home by Jeff Francoeur. The rifle-armed right fielder added another victim in the fourth when he nailed Jayson Werth at the plate. Rollins tested Francoeur again in the seventh after leading off with a triple, when Burrell sent a fly to medium-right field. Francoeur overthrew catcher Brian McCann and nearly sent it over the Braves' dugout. "I got a chance, and speed made him throw it into the dugout," Rollins said. While the offense put the runs on the board, the bullpen played a key role in keeping Atlanta from scoring. Moyer tired in the seventh, when he surrendered an RBI double to Prado, who then went to third on a flyout by pinch-hitter Chris Woodward. With the tying run on third and one out, Manuel went to Antonio Alfonseca. The excitable closer struck out Escobar and Matt Diaz, then celebrated with a hard-to-describe gyration. "I liked that," said Tom Gordon, who simply points to the sky after a save. "I haven't seen that since Florida [when Alfonseca was the closer]. I used to watch that. I like that. Those outs were the game right there." A game the Phillies needed to win, keeping them three games behind the Mets and vaulting them a half-game ahead of the third-place Braves. "It was a big series for both teams," Howard said. "Everybody knows what's at stake. These division games are huge. Both teams are in the Wild Card, but are close enough to still try and win the division, so the Wild Card goes to where the Wild Card goes. "With what we've been through all year, all the injuries we've had, being where we are right now is a great feeling. A lot of people didn't think we'd be here with all the injuries. Playing against [the Braves], with the pickups they made, and us being short-handed, we'd had guys step up and we've become closer as a team."
Stephen Fastenau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.