It's rare that the Phillies score nine runs and register a relatively easy win when Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth go a combined 1 for 14. But so it went in Milwaukee Thursday night, as a tremendous performance by the bottom half of the order carried the visitors to a 9-4 win that brought them a step closer to locking up the NL East. Ben Francisco, Pedro Feliz, Paul Bako and J.A. Happ went a combined 8 for 11 through the first five innings, scoring four and driving in four.
Brewers starter Jeff Suppan brought a 6.13 career ERA against the Phillies into the game, and saw that rise after allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 12 hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. But Suppan actually kept his team close until the fifth inning, stranding seven Phillies through the first four. With the Phils ahead 2-1 and one out in the fifth, Werth reached on an Alcides Escobar error and went to second on a bloop single off the bat of Ben Francisco. Pedro Feliz followed with a single, scoring Werth on a close play; Francisco came around on a Paul Bako hit. Pitcher J.A. Happ singled in Feliz to make it 5-1. Jimmy Rollins put the cap on the six-run inning with a three-run homer to right field, his 20th of the season.
Happ showed no lingering effects from the side strain that has limited him through September, striking out five straight Brewers his first time through the lineup. He was sharp until the sixth inning, when he ran out of gas and left with two out and two on; in all, Happ worked 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Chad Durbin, Tyler Walker and Chad Condrey pieced together the last ten outs, with Condrey giving up two unearned runs in the ninth.
The Phils lowered their magic number to four and increased their division lead to seven games over the idle Braves.