Around 4.30 Eastern time Sunday afternoon, the collective mind of Philliedom united in one despairing thought: Oh no, not again. With two outs in the sixth inning, Joe Blanton and Clay Condrey had just pitched a 6-1 Phillies lead into a 6-5 nailbiter on a Mat Gamel three-run homer and a Ryan Braun RBI single, and the resilient Brewers had ten outs yet. The Braves were just finishing off yet another win over the Nationals; the prospect of a lead down to four games with seven remaining felt very real.
But the much-maligned bullpen held: Sergio Escalona relieved Condrey to retire Prince Fielder on one pitch and escape the sixth, and Chad Durbin got the next five outs before running into eighth-inning trouble with a walk of Corey Hart. Ryan Madson came on for the four-out save, and Hart gave him one as a gift by getting picked off first base. Madson retired Braun to start the ninth, but Fielder followed with an opposite-field double. He moved to third on a groundout by pinch-hitter Felipe Lopez, bringing up Mike Cameron; Madson got ahead 0-2, seethed as umpire Dana DeMuth called one close pitch a ball... and finished it with a blazing fastball on the outside corner as Cameron's bat didn't move. Save, sigh of relief, magic number down to three.
Were the Phillies a bit more effective with runners in scoring position, the end might not have been so dramatic. The team stranded the bases loaded three times on the day, left 14 on in all, and went 3 for 14 in RISP situations. On the plus side, every starter had at least one hit, with Jimmy Rollins chipping in a leadoff homer and Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz each driving in two.
The win was the club's 48th on the road this season, tying a franchise record. They come home for four games with the Astros starting Monday, with Cole Hamels set for the start.