ATLANTA(AP) A year after a 9-0 record in Atlanta helped give Philadelphia momentum for its World Series championship run,
three straight losses at Turner Field left the Phillies feeling flawed.
drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning double and the Braves beat Philadelphia 5-2 on Thursday night to complete
their first home sweep of the Phillies in four years.
Diaz had his second straight three-hit game to lift the Braves to their fourth consecutive win. The Phillies are less than
a percentage point ahead of Florida, .5131 to .5125, for first in the NL East.
''We need to turn it around at some point,'' said first baseman
of the reeling Phillies, who have lost 12 of 15 to fall only two games over .500 and two games ahead of the fourth-place Braves.
''We're just not playing good ball right now, plain and simple,'' Howard said.
The Braves, who failed to beat the Phillies at Turner Field last season, completed their first home sweep of Philadelphia
since April, 2005.
The Phillies were outscored 21-7 in the sweep and are 2-7 against Atlanta this season.
''Our whole game has got to come together,'' Phillies manager
said. ''We've been playing bad baseball.''
The sweep brightened the Braves' outlook.
said the Braves still have ''a long way to go, but we're happy with our position.''
The only promising signs for the Phillies were another strong start for J.A. Happ, who gave up two runs in seven innings,
and two hits by
, who ended his career-worst 0-for-28 drought.
''Our game is not together,'' Manuel said. ''I've been saying it for two or three weeks. ... We're definitely losing games
Philaelphia's bullpen suffered losses in two of the three games in Atlanta.
With the score tied at 2,
led off the eighth with a single off
moved to second on
's sacrifice. Diaz followed with his run-scoring double to the center-field wall.
added his first career pinch-hit homer, a two-run shot off Madson.
pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Happ, coming off his first career shutout in a 10-0 win at Toronto on Saturday, gave up a two-run homer to
in the fourth inning before retiring the next seven batters. He gave up seven hits and two runs in seven innings.
The Phillies pulled even with two runs off
in the sixth.
The Phillies had a chance to take the lead in the eighth when
walked, stole second and advanced to third on McCann's throwing error. Werth tried to score on
's wild pitch to the screen. McCann recovered quickly and threw back to Gonzalez (3-0), who made the tag on Werth's headfirst
Replays were inconclusive, but Manuel said ''He's out.''
Cox said he thought Werth would be safe when he took off from third.
''I thought he would make it because he's so good,'' Cox said. ''I like that kid a lot. He's a gamer. He's a manager's dream,
I think. But we made the play and got him out.''
Vazquez shut out the Phillies for five innings before giving up two runs in the sixth.
Vazquez gave up seven hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.
' double over
in center field drove in
, who led off with a single. Reliever
gave up a tying groundout to
to drive in Werth.
Diaz, making his second straight start in left field, led off the fourth with a single and scored on Kotchman's two-run homer.
It was only Kotchman's third homer and his first since May 8 against the Phillies'
Rollins grounded out in his first at-bat before a single in the third inning for his first hit since June 18. He added a fifth-inning
proclaimed he cleared his ''last hurdle'' after throwing 90 pitches in the bullpen before the game. Hudson, who had elbow
ligament-replacement surgery on July 27, 2008, is scheduled for his first rehab assignment on July 19 at Class A Myrtle Beach.
... Phillies OF
(groin) had his first rehab game at Double-A Redding pushed back to Thursday or Friday.