Homerun Number 43 For Thome Gives Phils 5-4 Win

With the first two games of the series being blowouts - one going in the Phillies favor and the other against - Thursday's series finale was a welcome change. Placido Polanco and Jim Thome homered for the Phillies as they pulled to within 1/2 game of the Marlins in the National League Wild Card standings.

Jim Thome snapped a 4-4 tie by smashing his 43rd homerun of the season off reliever Chad Fox (2-1) to put the Phillies up 5-4 on their way to taking two out of three games against Florida. The win moved the Phils to within ½ game of Florida in the National League Wild Card race and also gave the Atlanta Braves their 12th straight National League East division title.

The Phillies had to come from behind for Thursday's win. The two teams were scoreless through three innings when the Marlins came through with three runs in the fourth inning. Derrek Lee doubled to lead off the inning and Juan Encarnacion worked a walk off starter Kevin Millwood to put runners on first and second. Jeff Conine tried to move the runners over with a bunt and Millwood fielded the ball and threw it away, allowing Lee to score the game's first run. A single from Miguel Cabrera and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Alex Gonzalez put Florida up 3-0.

The Phillies mounted their comeback in the fifth inning. It started with a solo homerun from Tomas Perez, his fifth homerun of the season. Two outs later, the Phillies continued their habit of scoring two out runs when Placido Polanco walked and Bobby Abreu singled before Mike Lieberthal – who has often been the one driving in the two out runs – doubled to score both Byrd and Abreu and tie the game 3-3.

The two teams traded solo homeruns as Cabrera went deep for the Marlins in the sixth and Polanco hit his 14th of the year in the seventh to again tie the game, this time at 4-4.

Millwood pitched seven innings, allowing seven hits and one walk in his outing. He was charged with three earned runs and struck out eight hitters. Rookie Dontrelle Willis started for Florida and lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, four earned runs and three walks while striking out nine hitters. Willis gave up a double to Abreu after Polanco's homerun and was relieved by Fox, who got Lieberthal to end the inning.

Thome led off the eighth with his solo homerun and the Phillies threatened to score more. Jason Michaels reached on an error and moved to second on a passed ball before Jimmy Rollins bunted him over to third. Perez then hit a ground ball to Gonzalez, who threw home to nail Michaels at the plate for the second out of the inning. Fox then walked Rheal Cormier on four pitches, but got Byrd to fly out to end the inning without any further damage.

Cormier (7-0), who came on to pitch the eighth, put down the Marlins in order in the ninth to secure the win for the Phillies.

The Marlins travel to Atlanta for a four game series with Atlanta, while the Phillies stay at home to start a weekend series with the Cincinnati Reds. Randy Wolf (15-9, 4.17) goes against Josh Hall (0-0, 5.29) in the series opener Friday night. The Phillies and Marlins meet for three more games next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Miami. The Phillies will likely have Brett Myers, Kevin Millwood and Randy Wolf pitching in the series against the Marlins.

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