Strong outing by Vazquez helps Braves beat Phils

May 9, 2009 3:40:25 PM PDT
Javier Vazquez pitched neatly into the eighth inning, Yunel Escobar and Brian McCann hit two-run homers and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Saturday. Vazquez (3-3) allowed two runs and four hits, striking out seven in 7 2-3 innings. He also helped himself with a double that started a three-run rally in the fifth.

Chase Utley hit his 10th homer and Raul Ibanez also went deep for the Phillies, who got another poor performance from a starting pitcher. Joe Blanton (1-3) gave up six runs and eight hits in eight innings.

Blanton's shaky start was the latest in a slew of rough outings for a rotation that played a vital role in helping the Phillies win the World Series last season. Philadelphia's starters are 7-10 with a 6.47 ERA.

Vazquez was hitless in his first 12 at-bats this season before lining a one-out double down the left-field line in the fifth. He scored on Kelly Johnson's double. Escobar followed with a drive to the seats in left-center for a 4-1 lead.

McCann, wearing glasses after missing 13 games with an eye infection, connected in the eighth to make it 6-1.

Ibanez hit one into the second deck in right field in the bottom half for his ninth homer.

Utley is off to another strong start. The All-Star second baseman belted 21 of his career-best 33 homers in the first 59 games last year, but hit only 12 in the final 103 games. He played through a hip injury, waiting until after the season to have surgery.

Jeff Francoeur lined an RBI single off the wall in left to give the Braves a 1-0 lead in the second.

Vazquez bounced back from two subpar starts. He gave up 11 runs in 14 2-3 innings against St. Louis and the New York Mets, losing both games.

Notes: The Phillies fell to 0-9 when they score three runs or less. They're 15-4 when they score at least four runs. ... Francoeur has a 10-game hitting streak. ... Braves CF Jordan Schafer is hitting .161 (5 for 31) with 17 strikeouts in his last eight games. ... Chipper Jones has a 29-game hitting streak against the Phillies. ... McCann is 6 for 7 with two homers and six RBIs against Blanton. ... Vazquez improved to 11-7 against the Phillies, beating them for the first time since Aug. 23, 2003, with the Montreal Expos.

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