ATLANTA — Joe Blanton’s plan for a quick and efficient win Thursday keyed on his hope to take advantage of a marathon game the night before.
Blanton pitched a three-hitter for his first shutout in five years and Shane Victorino hit a two-run homer to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
“I tried to use last night to my advantage a little bit with an early 12 o’clock start today,” Blanton said. “I wanted to pound the zone a lot and hope that maybe they were coming out a touch lethargic. I don’t know if that was the case or not.
Blanton (3-3) needed only 2 hours, 2 minutes for his win. It provided a dramatic reversal of the Braves’ 15-13 win in 11 innings on Wednesday night when the teams combined for 36 hits.
Wednesday night’s 4-hour game lasted almost twice as long as Blanton’s masterful performance.
The Braves barely had time to wake up. Their only hits were singles by Freddie Freeman in the first, David Ross in the fifth and Michael Bourn in the ninth. Martin Prado lined into a double play to end the game.
Blanton, with his red socks pulled up to his knees, was dominant as he needed only 88 pitches.
“Perfect timing after last night’s game,” Phillies catcher Brian Schneider said. “Joe did great. He mixed up his pitches, he got ahead of a lot of hitters. … It was a lot of fun catching him today.”
The Phillies used six pitchers in Wednesday’s loss.
Because he was able to give the Phillies’ bullpen a break, Blanton said this could be the best start of his career.
“I think so, just from the fact there were a lot of guys who pitched last night and I had to go deep,” he said. “I think that was the biggest thing, that guys got some rest today.”
The win allowed the Phillies to take two of three in the first series between the NL East rivals.
Atlanta’s Randall Delgado (2-3) also pitched well while allowing six hits and two runs with no walks in eight innings, the longest start of his career.
“He deserved a better fate than what he got,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He pitched great. He gave us every opportunity to win this game, and we didn’t.”