PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Although they are not in first place at the All-Star break, the
are peaking at the right time.
J.D. Drew had four hits, including a solo homer in a four-run sixth inning, as the Braves held on for a 6-4 victory over the
For just the second time since 1995, the Braves are not in first place in the National League East at the break. But led by Drew's hot hitting, they have won 12 of their last 15 games to climb within one of the first-place Phillies.
"We're pleased to be where we are - in contention," Atlanta manager
said. "We couldn't ask for anything more. We got a few guys we need to start ripping the ball a little bit, and we can play very, very consistent ball."
After five injury-plagued seasons with St. Louis, Drew has been among Atlanta's best hitters. He leads the team with 21 home runs and 55 RBI and takes a .312 batting average into the break.
"It's nice," said Drew, who has missed just nine games this season. "My knee's healthy now and it allows me to be out there on the field every day. It was an injury that kept me out 2 1/2 years, so it's nice to finally get that thing healed up."
Drew went 4-for-5, falling a triple shy of the cycle. He triggered a four-run outburst with a leadoff homer in the sixth, then produced an insurance run with a single in the eighth.
Drew matched a career high by extending his hitting streak to 11 games.
"I don't plan on sitting around and doing nothing," he said. "I'll take a bat home with me and make sure I just pick it up and get a feel for it pretty much every day so I don't lose that rhythm."
The Braves went ahead for good on
's three-run homer off
(3-5) and have won five straight series.
Franco's sixth homer was set up by former Phillie
, who fouled off nine pitches before ending an 11-pitch at-bat with a double.
(10-6) labored through 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits. He gave up a two-run shot to
in the sixth that made it 5-4 and was lifted after
"The way we finished out the last couple of weeks was real nice," Ortiz said. "I don't think I'm the only one that feels the best is yet to come."
combined on 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Smoltz got the final six outs, working around ninth-inning singles by
, for his 16th save in 18 chances.
Smoltz, who blew a save in Friday's series opener, escaped by retiring
Wolf lasted 5 1/3 innings and was tagged for five runs and a season-high 10 hits. After being pulled by manager
, the lefthander flipped his glove into the crowd.
The Phillies went 8-6 on their longest homestand of the season. But they dropped four of the final seven games and stranded 11 runners in this one.
"We've got to pick it up and go deeper into the game," said Bowa, who was ejected in the ninth. "Starting pitching is the name of the game."