Braves extend winning streak

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ATLANTA --- A year after a 9-0 record in Atlanta helped give Philadelphia momentum for its World Series championship run, three losses in a row at Turner Field left the Phillies feeling flawed.

Matt Diaz drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning double and the Braves beat Philadelphia 5-2 on Thursday night to complete their first home sweep of the Phillies in four years.

Diaz had his second consecutive three-hit game to lift the Braves to their fourth win in a row and drop the Phillies into a tie with Florida for first in the NL East.

"We need to turn it around at some point," said first baseman Ryan Howard of the reeling Phillies, who have lost 12 of 15 to fall only two games over .500 and two games ahead of the fourth-place Braves.

"We're just not playing good ball right now, plain and simple," Howard said.

The Braves, who failed to beat the Phillies at Turner Field last season, completed their first home sweep of Philadelphia since April 2005.

The Phillies were outscored 21-7 in the sweep and are 2-7 against Atlanta this season.

The sweep brightened the Braves' outlook. Manager Bobby Cox said the Braves still have "a long way to go, but we're happy with our position."

With the score tied at 2, Brian McCann led off the eighth with a single off Ryan Madson (2-4). Pinch runner Jair Jurrjens moved to second on Yunel Escobar's sacrifice. Diaz followed with a double to the center-field wall. Garret Anderson added his first career pinch-hit homer, a two-run shot off Madson.

Braves starter Javier Vazquez gave up seven hits and two runs in 5q innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.


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