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B.J. Upton powers Braves past Phillies 3-2
Question of the Day
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An offensive funk sent the Phillies to a four-game sweep by the Atlanta Braves.
B.J. Upton tripled and drove in two runs Sunday to lead streaking Atlanta to a 3-2 victory over the Phillies and their first four-game sweep in Philadelphia in 50 years.
Marlon Byrd hit a pair of solo home runs for the slumping Phillies, who have lost eight of 10 to drop to 10 games under .500.
“It didn’t go our way,” Phillies slugger Ryan Howard said. “The ball didn’t bounce our way. It just wasn’t meant to be for us in this series.”
Chase Utley singled in the seventh inning for his 1,500th career hit. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman greeted Utley with applause and a pat on the back, and the crowd of 33,215 gave the Phillies’ second baseman a standing ovation.
There wasn’t much else for the home fans to cheer.
Philadelphia dropped to 18-27 at Citizens Bank Park and fell to 7-35 when scoring three runs or less as its offense continued to struggle. The Phillies were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, finishing the series 3 for 32.
“Hitting in the clutch and hitting with men on base is a component we have to get better at,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “We came up short in this series. It could’ve been a big point for us.”
The Phillies finished with 13 hits and had plenty of chances to avoid the Braves’ first four-game sweep in Philadelphia since Sept. 24-27, 1964, when the franchise was in Milwaukee and their four wins at Connie Mack Stadium contributed to the Phillies’ infamous season-ending collapse that year.
The last chance came in the ninth against Craig Kimbrel, who had to work out of a jam for his 24th save in 28 opportunities. Kimbrel got the first two batters out before consecutive singles by Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins put runners on first and third for Utley. But he flew out to right to end the game.
“The last week or so that’s what’s been lacking, a big hit,” Sandberg said. “That’s what made us successful on the past road trip coming up with some clutch hits and that’s what we lacked on this homestand.”
The Phillies had chances to tie after Gerald Laird’s fourth-inning double put the Braves ahead 3-2.
The Phillies threatened in the sixth when they put runners on first and second with nobody out. But Koyie Hill’s sacrifice bunt attempt resulted in the lead runner being forced out at third, and pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr. grounded into an inning-ending double play.
And Philadelphia had runners on first and third with one out in the seventh when Howard grounded into another inning-ending double play.
“The pitching gave us a chance to win,” Sandberg said. “We had our chances, had men on base, couldn’t come up with a hit with multiple guys on base.”
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