Phils Win; Regain Share of Wild Card Lead

Ryan Howard was on the bench, but before the official second guessing could begin, his back-up Ramon Martinez launched the first grand slam of his career as the Phillies beat Atlanta 12-4 Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park. The win moved the Phillies within five games of the Braves in the NL East.

Ramon Martinez isn't one to think about homeruns, let alone grand slams. "I can't think like that. I just try to put the ball in play and help my team," said Martinez after his slam helped the Phils to their third straight win over the Braves.

There were a lot of success stories for the Phillies Wednesday night. Starter Cory Lidle pitched five strong innings to get the win. Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest of his career, while Jason Michaels homered and drove in three runs. Plus, David Bell continued to pound left-handed pitching as he picked up three hits for the Phillies.

Lidle (11-10) allowed three runs and seven hits to win his second straight start since coming off the disabled list.

The Phillies used back-to-back singles by Bell and Mike Lieberthal to load the bases with one out in the third inning against Braves starter Horacio Ramirez (11-9). That brought Martinez to the plate and he promptly lined a shot into the left field seats for his first homerun as a Phillie and the first grand slam of his career. The homerun broke the game open, extending the Phillies' advantage to 7-0. In addition to hitting his first career slam, Martinez equaled a career high with four RBI in the game.

The Phillies picked up three first inning runs, thanks in part to an error by Marcus Giles. Rollins doubled to start the inning before Michaels struck out. Bobby Abreu delievered a base hit to score Rollins, who stole third for his 34th stolen base of the season.

Pat Burrell contributed an RBI single before Giles' error on a ball hit by Chase Utley extended the inning. Bell then singled to left and Lieberthal added a sacrifice fly as the Phillies took a 3-0 lead. In addition to his RBI single, Burrell drew four walks, to put his career-high total at 91.

The two teams will square off again Thursday night for their final showdown of the season at Citizens Bank Park. Brett Myers (12-7, 3.63) goes against Jorge Sosa (11-3, 2.55) in the closing game of the series.


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