Tucker, Victorino come through in a pinch for Phils
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- After watching their teammates struggle all game against
came up big in the ninth.
Tucker's pinch single snapped a scoreless tie and Victorino hit his first career homer, leading the Phillies to a 4-0 victory over the
The win pulled the Phillies (82-71) within four games of the Braves (86-67) in the National League East and more importantly allowed them to stay within two games of Houston in the NL Wild Card race. Houston beat Pittsburgh, 2-1, Thursday afternoon.
Tucker was called on by Phillies manager
to bat for
with two on and two out in the ninth. He delivered a single to left field that scored
to make it 1-0.
"I was looking for a pitch I could hit into the hole," Tucker said. "(Hudson's) up over 100 pitches. Usually, most pitchers in the seventh and eighth innings get a little tired. He might make a mistake over the middle of the plate, which he did."
Victorino, the International League MVP this season, batted for Phillies starter
and hit a three-run homer to right to extend the lead to 4-0.
"I was trying to put a big swing on the ball," Victorino said. "I was just looking for something down. I put a good swing on it. It couldn't have come in a better situation. The team is fighting for a playoff spot."
It was a surprise that Hudson still was in the game in the ninth. With a runner on third and one out in the eighth, manager
allowed Hudson to hit, although he had thrown 103 pitches. But the move backfired as Hudson hit a tapper on the first pitch a couple of inches in front of the plate and was thrown out at first.
"The first pitch is going to be off the plate," Cox said. "He swung at it. You don't want to (swing) on the first pitch."
"It was just a bad, bad move on my part, a bad decision." Hudson said. "In that situation, I was horrible. (But) it's not like I see a lot of pitches or get a lot of at-bats. I've got to have a better at-bat."
Cox, who was booed by the Turner Field crowd after lifting Hudson in the ninth, defended his decision not to pinch hit for the righthander.
"He can hit and he can squeeze too," Cox said. "He only had (103) pitches. He could have gone two more innings."
Philadelphia third baseman
made a diving stop on a shot by
and threw him out at first to end the inning and set the stage for the ninth.
"Bell made a terrific play," Cox said. "That was the ballgame."
Lieber (16-12) pitched a gem, scattering five hits and striking out seven without allowing a walk in eight innings. The righthander improved to 7-2 in his last 10 starts.
"I feel like my stuff is a little more crisp than it was earlier in the year," Lieber said. "It was a big win, especially after a tough loss in the first game here. Things could look real ugly, but we're still alive."
worked around a leadoff single in the ninth and struck out two to close out the game.
Hudson (13-9) pitched well until the ninth, allowing four runs and six hits. He walked four and struck out three.
Atlanta has lost seven of its last 10 games.
went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 27 games, the longest in the National League this season.