After a dismal effort by the Phillies in a blowout win by the Braves on Saturday night, the Phillies knew they needed to play great baseball to win the series.  They did just that on Sunday, defeating them 7-3 in front of a sold out crowd at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies recognized that they had to beat the Braves on Sunday if they were to have any shot at chasing them down for the division lead.  They went to work early in the bottom of the first when Domonic Brown, who was introduced earlier this weekend as a representative for the Phillies in this year's All Star game, hit a screamer that bounced off Freddie Freeman's glove and trickled into the right field corner, scoring Chase Utley all the way from first.  After Michael Young walked, Delmon Young, who has been red hot recently, raising his average by more than fifty points in the past several weeks, singled to score Brown from third, to give the Phillies an early 2-0 advantage.

It is never a good idea to only score a few runs and not to expand one's lead against teams that can potentially score fast against the opposition via the long ball.  The Phillies made sure to capitalize on their hits on Sunday, adding to their lead in the bottom of the fourth.  D. Young walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third on Darin Ruf's double.  With no outs, Carlos Ruiz hit a pop fly to shallow left field, not far enough to score D. Young from third.  Jonathan Pettibone then struck out.  Ben Revere did not leave things to chance, however, tripling to center to score D. Young and Ruf to push the Phillies ahead 4-0.

Ruf, who is getting a chance to play at first because of Ryan Howard's ailing knee problems, is trying to capitalize on his opportunity at the Major League level.  The Phillies are hopeful that he can contribute to the team's success, posting a .333 average in limited playing time last September.

The Braves, aware of the potentially surging Phillies, were not going to go down easy.  In the top of the fifth, Brian McCann, who cannot be kept off the bases against the Phillies, going 9-12 in this series, singled to start the frame, and advanced to third on Dan Uggla's double into the left field corner.  Pettibone was able to strike out B.J. Upton and Chris Johnson, but was unable to get Braves pitcher, Kris Medlen, out.  He allowed a single to him, which enabled McCann to score from third, cutting the Phillies' lead to 4-1.

The Phillies appeared to be playing like they were serious about winning, countering in the bottom of the fifth, when Brown drilled a solo shot to right, increasing the Phillies' lead to 5-1.

Mistakes can make or break a team.  The Phillies made sure to capitalize on the Braves' mistakes in the bottom of the sixth.  Braves pitcher, Alex Wood, uncorked a wild pitch, which allowed Ruf to score from third.  McCann's errant throw to home allowed Carlos Ruiz to score from second, to add to the Phillies' already sizable lead, and make the score 7-1.

Defensive missed opportunities have hurt the Phillies numerous times this year, resulting in a sub .500 record.  In the top of the seventh, after a Chris Johnson home run, the Phillies had a chance at a double play on a flair to Utley.  Instead the ball bounced off Utley's glove, preserving the inning for the Braves, and putting runners on first and second.  Jason Heyward then hit a single up the middle to score Tyler Pastornicky, who hit for Wood, to cut the Phillies deficit to four, 7-3 Phillies.            

Pettibone pitched decently for the Phillies, tossing 5 1/3 innings, surrendering one earned run on five hits, while striking out six.

Medlen did not fare as well, tossing 5 1/3 innings, surrendering five earned runs on eight hits, while punching out five batters.

The Phillies look to continue their recent success, as they take on the Nationals at 7:05 tomorrow night.  John Lannan will pitch for the Phillies against his former team.

-  Samuel Botwinick is a staff writer for the Philadelphia Baseball Review.  Contact him at or @avdbkr20samuel on Twitter.

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