PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies did all their scoreboard watching before taking the field, and then took care of their own business.
Kevin Frandsen hit one of Philadelphia’s four solo homers to back Kyle Kendrick, and the Phillies inched closer in the NL playoff race with a 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley also went deep for the resurgent Phillies, who pulled within three games of St. Louis for the league’s second wild-card spot with their fourth consecutive win. Milwaukee and Los Angeles also stand in Philadelphia’s way with 11 games remaining.
Players quietly celebrated the Cardinals’ 5-4 afternoon loss at the Chicago Cubs in the clubhouse and didn’t waste the opportunity to make up ground with time running out on their season.
“We knew,” Howard said about St. Louis’ loss. “Whether the Cardinals win or lose, we still have to go out and win. This is a playoff push. This is what you play for. To be in the hunt with everything we went through this season, it’s a fun feeling. I never gave up on anything. That’s why you play 162 games.”
Despite the loss, the Braves are in excellent position to secure a postseason berth. Their magic number for clinching a spot remained at five following the Brewers’ victory at Washington.
“We’ve got enough stress going on in the field. The last thing we need to worry about is if Milwaukee is beating Washington right now,” Freddie Freeman said. “That’s the main goal. You’ve got to win games and if you don’t win games it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the scoreboard.”
Kendrick (10-11) allowed two runs and five hits in 6⅔ innings, striking out six. He is 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA since Aug. 14.
Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson (12-9) gave up five runs and four hits in 5⅓ innings to remain winless since July 30.
“As of right now, I’m not doing a very good job,” Hanson said.