Too Little, Too Late: Braves 6, Phillies 4

Utterly dominated by a division foe for eight innings: Check

Starting pitcher exits after three ineffective innings due to injury: Check

Snooorrrrre for a couple hours: Check

Tease of a ninth inning rally: Check

Braves starter Javier Vazquez had another fine start in what has been one of his best seasons, going seven innings and allowing just three hits, striking out five Phillies

More importantly, Pedro Martinez left the game after three innings with what appears to be a neck strain.  He was ineffective while he was in the game, leaving us to wonder if that 130 pitch outing on Sunday is having a carryover effect.  We'll probably never know for sure.  Martinez allowed seven hits and three runs in his three innings, striking out just one.

The Braves scored six unanswered runs before the end of the fifth inning off Martinez and Chad DurbinMatt Diaz, of course, kicked us in the crotch yet again, hitting a two run homer in the fifth inning to give the Braves a 6-0 and virtually put the game away.

The Phillies only scoring came in the ninth as the game already appeared to be in hand for Atlanta, as Ryan Howard rocked a two run home run to left off Braves reliever Rafael Soriano.  Pinch hitter Matt Stairs followed with a double down the first base line, and Raul Ibanez walked, putting the tying run on deck.  Pedro Feliz proceeded to pop up to left, and pinch hitter Shane Victorino followed with a strikeout.  Another pinch hitter, Greg Dobbs, lined a single to right, driving in pinch runner Eric Bruntlett, and Jimmy Rollins followed up with another RBI single.

Ben Francisco, representing the go-ahead run, popped out to right fielder Matt Diaz (naturally), ending the game.

Well, rats.

Season series with Atlanta closes tomorrow afternoon, as the Braves' Tommy Hanson takes on Cliff Lee for the Phillies.

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