Without Papelbon, Phils can't hold lead

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 14, 2014 at 11:46 pm •  Published: April 14, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Without regular closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies weren't able to cap a comeback against the Atlanta Braves.

Philadelphia was in a position for an improbable victory after scoring five runs in the bottom of the eighth, but the Braves scored four runs in the ninth off Jake Diekman to pull out a wild 9-6 victory Monday.

Dan Uggla hit two home runs, including a grand slam in the ninth, to lead Atlanta to its fourth straight win.

Evan Gattis also homered twice and Uggla drove in five runs. The teams combined for five homers and 12 runs in the final two innings.

Ryan Howard homered and Marlon Byrd drove in two runs for Philadelphia. Chase Utley had two hits, and is batting .489 this season. Utley has a hit in all 11 of his games this season and 16 straight dating back to last season.

"We made a comeback," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. "The guys really battled and had good at-bats. We just weren't able to close the door in the ninth."

Gattis, Uggla and Andrelton Simmons hit consecutive homers in the eighth that put Atlanta ahead 5-1.

But the Phillies responded in the bottom of the inning and Domonic Brown's three-run homer capped a five-run frame that gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead.

The Phillies loaded the bases with no outs against Luis Avilan (3-1).

Howard struck out looking, but Byrd hit a two-run single that made it 5-3. Brown gave Philadelphia the lead with his first homer since last Aug. 14.

Sandberg turned to Diekman (1-1) to hold the one-run lead.

Papelbon wasn't used because he had pitched three straight days.

"For all those people who say anybody can close in the ninth, it's a little different, a different animal," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

B.J. Upton walked, Freddie Freeman reached on a grounder when second baseman Utley made a questionable decision to try for a forceout and Justin Upton walked to load the bases with no outs.

After Gattis struck out swinging at a 98 mph fastball, Uggla drove an 0-1 slider from Diekman deep into the seats in left.

"(Diekman) has electric stuff," Uggla said. "It's not a comfortable at-bat at all. He throws really hard and has great stuff, we'll take it."

Said Diekman, "I felt fine. You can't walk guys like that. I wasn't throwing strikes and attacking the zone."

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