Cole Hamels had another outstanding outing, and the Phillies took advantage of an error by Jason Heyward to beat the Atlanta Braves, 3-1, last night in Philadelphia, increasing their lead in the NL East to four games.
The two-time NL champion Phillies won their eighth straight game and improved to 42-15 since July 21, when they trailed the Braves by seven games.
Hamels (12-10) allowed one run and six hits, striking out six in eight innings to win his fifth straight start — a career best. Brad Lidge finished for his 24th save in 29 chances.
Brandon Beachy (0-1) gave up three runs — one earned — and four hits in 4 1/3 innings in his major league debut. He was a late fill-in for Jair Jurrjens, who is still nursing a sore right knee.
The Phillies adjusted their rotation so their three aces would pitch this series. Next up are Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt.
Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a hard liner to right-center. He hustled into third after the ball glanced off right fielder Heyward’s glove. Heyward made a long run and seemingly had trouble with the wind or the curve of the ball, but it was ruled an error.
Placido Polanco’s RBI grounder to shortstop drove in Victorino with the go-ahead run.
Reds 5, Brewers 2 — Joey Votto and Scott Rolen homered on back-to-back pitches in the eighth to break open a tie game and lead visiting Cincinnati.
The Reds widened their lead in the NL Central to seven games over the Cardinals. Cincinnati’s magic number for clinching its first division title since 1995 is six.
Marlins 4, Cardinals 0 — Chris Volstad threw a five-hitter for his second career shutout, Brad Davis hit a grand slam off Chris Carpenter, and Florida dealt St. Louis’s dimming playoff hopes a blow in Miami.
Monday’s game was a makeup following a rainout Aug. 8, and the teams needed only 1 hour 52 minutes to finish — it was the fastest game in Marlins history.
Davis’s first career slam — the first ever by a Marlins catcher — came in the second inning, the first surrendered by Carpenter (15-8) in 3,699 at-bats since June 12, 2004.
Twins 9, Indians 3 — Danny Valencia and Michael Cuddyer hit home runs and Brian Duensing got his 10th win as host Minnesota beat Cleveland.
The Twins’ magic number for winning the AL Central is two.
Athletics 3, White Sox 0 — Chris Carter finally got his first major league hit, Boof Bonser won for the first time in more than two years and host Oakland sent Chicago to its seventh straight loss.
Angels 7, Rangers 4 — Torii Hunter drove in two runs to back Jered Weaver’s solid pitching and host Los Angeles beat Texas, keeping the Rangers’ magic number at six for clinching their first AL West title since 1999.
Astros 8, Nationals 2 — Humberto Quintero and Geoff Blum each homered in a seven-run fifth inning, Bud Norris won for the seventh time in eight decisions, and visiting Houston beat Washington.
Tigers 7, Royals 5 — Will Rhymes hit his first major league homer and Alex Avila drove in three runs and made a spectacular defensive play to lead host Detroit.