So much for that big Phillies surge.
Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones homered off Roy Halladay on Sunday as the Braves beat the Phillies 6-2 to complete a big three-game sweep.
The Braves won their fifth straight behind Tim Hudson, who moved to 10-4 in the year. Apart from his Tommy John surgery year in 2009, he’s won at least 10 games all 13 years of his career.
Halladay turned in his first Quality Start in three outings since returning from the disabled list, allowing three runs in six innings, yet he dropped to 4-6 on the season. His first of seven strikeouts on the day was the 2,000th of his career.
Chipper’s homer off Halladay was his 10th of the year, getting him to that mark for the 18th time in his career. Only 16 players have done it more often. At 18, Jones is tied with Andre Dawson, Dwight Evans, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Gary Sheffield, Willie Stargell and Ted Williams on the all-time list.
Jones’ homer was also his 1,042 extra-base hit, moving him past Pete Rose into second-place all-time for switch-hitters. Only Eddie Murray at 1,099 has more.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.