PITTSBURGH (Ticker) --
did their best to make things a little more difficult for the
Wells pitched into the seventh inning and Sanders belted a three-run homer as the
rolled to an 8-4 victory over the Phillies.
The Phillies lost for just the fourth time in their last 15 games but fell 1 1/2 games behind Florida in the National League wild card race.
Wells (8-8) won for the third time in his last four starts by limiting the Phillies to two runs - one earned - and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. The righthander walked two and struck out seven.
"I feel that I'm in a stretch where I'm mechanically sound and I'm feeling strong. I had my command tonight," Wells said. "The team came through and got me some runs early and that allowed me to be aggressive."
After Wells departed, Sanders provided some insurance with two outs in the bottom of the seventh with his homer off
that opened an 8-2 lead.
"Right now, we're playing for pride," Sanders said. "When we get the opportunity, you try to capitalize on them. You have to play with pride because we're not playing for anything, just the pride. When you could make it tough on a team that is in contention, you love to do so."
(1-3) was roughed up for five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
hit a two-run homer in the eighth. He became the first Phillie to hit 40 homers in a season since Hall of Famer
finished with 40 in 1983.
"When you get late in the year like this, you look at every series and you say maybe we have a chance to win two out of three," Thome said. "Tomorrow becomes very important. Pittsburgh has a lot of guys that are ready to play. I'm sure they want to knock us off."
's run-scoring single with two outs in the top of the second opened the scoring,
plated the tying run with a groundout in the bottom of the inning.
gave the Pirates the lead when he opened the bottom of the fourth by sending a 1-1 pitch over the right field wall for his fourth homer.
Wells helped his own cause in the fifth by bouncing into a forceout to plate a run, giving the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
In the sixth, pinch hitter
snapped out of an 0-for-26 funk by lacing a two-run single off Valerio de los Santos.
"I always swing hard," Hernandez said. "I've been working hard in the batting cage. Sometimes I go to the plate and have zero in my mind. After an off day, they gave me a chance to pinch hit and I came through."
The Phillies attempted to climb back into the game in the seventh. Pinch hitter
drew a base-loaded walk with two outs but
to fly out to shallow left field, ending the inning.
"When you score two runs or less through seven innings, you aren't going to win that many games," Phillies manager
With two runners and two outs in the bottom of the inning, Sanders crushed a 2-2 pitch from Mesa over the right-center field wall for his 31st homer, giving the Pirates an 8-2 lead.
Thome capped the scoring with his homer with one out in the eighth off Corey.