The Atlanta Braves scored early and often against Roy Halladay on Saturday afternoon, battering around the veteran ace to the tune of six runs in the first three innings. Mike Minor backed up the offense with six strong innings of work, and the offense added a couple of insurance runs late as the Braves went on to win 8-2.
With two outs and two strikes in the first inning, Freddie Freeman, who has been slumping the last few weeks, turned on an inside fastball and sent it off the second-deck facade at Citizens Bank Park for a three-run homer.
Jason Heyward came up with the bases loaded in the second and sent a ball deep down the right field line, hooking it just fair to clear the bases. Chipper Jones then drove Heyward home to give Atlanta a 7-0 lead.
The Phillies scored their first run of the game on a sacrifice fly from Darin Ruf in the third inning that plated Kevin Frandsen. Ryan Howard hit a solo homer -- his fourth long ball in as many days -- in the fourth to cut the deficit to 7-2.
Heyward singled home an insurance in the eighth for his fourth RBI of the day. Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty then worked a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, respectively, to secure Atlanta's 87th victory of the season.
The Braves' magic number is now three games.
Tim Hudson and Cliff Lee will meet in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.
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