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McCann homers again, Braves sweep

Brian McCann talks after the Braves' win over the Phillies.
Brian McCann talks after the Braves' win over the Phillies.
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PHILADELPHIA (AP)

Brian McCann finally gets to experience the break part of the All-Star break.

Too bad for McCann it's time to rest right when his bat finally is hot.

McCann homered for the fourth consectuive game and third in the the series and Dan Uggla hit a two-run shot to lead the Atlanta Braves to a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies in a 4-3 win on Sunday.

McCann hit a grand slam on Friday, a solo shot on Saturday, then hit the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning off Raul Valdes (2-2). Atlanta heads into the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak.

McCann is staying home this year after the six-time NL All-Star catcher failed to make the team for the first time in a full season in his career.

''I'm in a place I haven't been in a while,'' he said. ''It's weird not going. Now, it's four days to get your body rested.''

McCann's two-run homer against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday to snap a 58 at-bat streak without going deep was a preview for his Philadelphia power show. His 13th homer off the season on a straightaway solo shot made it 4-3 and made a winner out of starter Jair Jurrjens (3-2). Jurrjens allowed six hits, three runs and struck out four over seven innings to win his second straight start. He's 5-1 against the Phillies over his last eight starts.

Craig Kimbrel worked a scoreless ninth for his 25th save.

The Phillies may need more than four days to recover from a dreadful first half.

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The five-time NL East champion Phillies are staggering heading into the break. They have lost 10 of 11 games and are 13 games under .500 (37-50). The Phillies lost 60 games all of last season.

Jason Pridie homered, doubled and had three RBI as a last-minute replacement for Shane Victorino. Victorino was scratched after the badly slumping outfielder was scheduled to hit seventh. Manager Charlie Manuel said he made the call because Victorino was ''down'' about his recent slump.

''He's got a lot on his mind, I guess,'' Manuel said.

Jurrjens allowed a two-run homer to Pridie in the second inning. Victorino was slated to start in center before manager Charlie Manuel changed his mind. Victorino has been the subject of trade rumors for the freefalling Phillies and was batting only .245.

Uggla tied the game in the fourth when he snapped an 0-for-20 skid with a two-run homer, his 12th, to center.

Pridie delivered again when he his shot one-hopped the scoreboard in right for a run-scoring double — his first since Sept. 28, 2011 — to make it 3-2. Pridie, called up when the Phillies traded Jim Thome to Baltimore, served a 50-game suspension this season for violating baseball's drug policy.

He made Manuel look like a genius for the lineup switch.

But again, not even an unexpected dose of offense could snap the Phillies out of their skid. The recent returns of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard failed to make a difference for the last-place team. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay will throw a bullpen session Tuesday in Clearwater and, if all goes well, could make a rehab start there on Thursday. He needs to be healthy and effective in a hurry if the Phillies have any chance at making a run toward a sixth straight playoff appearance in the second half.

''I believe we can (make the playoffs) because I'll always believe,'' Manuel said.

The Phillies also need to shore up a bullpen that has failed them time and again. This time, it was Valdes who blew it in the seventh when he allowed McCann's winner to the disgust of a fed-up and sold-out crowd.

Vance Worley allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings for the Phillies.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said it was too early to count out the Phillies.

''I'm surprised, but I'm scared,'' he said. ''That's a good club over there with Utley and Howard back. There's a long season left.''

Phils

KISS OF APPROVAL

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The Braves hope the All-Star break will give shortstop Andrelton Simmons some time to heal after he left with a fractured pinky finger on his right hand on a headfirst slide into first. Simmons entered batting .292 with three home runs and 15 RBI. He was named NL Rookie of the Month for June.

''Sometimes, you have to take risks,'' he said.

With Simmons hurt, the Braves turned to pinch hitter Eric Hinske in the fifth inning with the bases loaded. Worley struck him out looking with a 91 mph fastball to end the threat.

Hinske, of course, was with Tampa Bay when he famously swing over Brad Lidge's slider to end Game 5 when Philadelphia won the 2008 World Series.

The only arms raised in triumph Sunday came from Jurrjens in the fifth inning after right fielder Jason Heyward made a backhanded diving catch along the right field line to rob Juan Pierre of an extra-base hit.

Jurrjens and other Braves waited near the dugout at the end of the inning to congratulate Heyward.

Notes: The Philles are under .500 at the All-Star break for the fourth time in the last 15 seasons and first time since 2006. ... The Braves swept the Phillies for the first time since April 2-5 (3-0) 2007. ... The Phillies are 17-27 at home. ... McCann is one shy of matching his personal best of homers in five consecutive  games (July 15-19, 2006).

Tagged: Braves, Phillies, Shane Victorino, Brian McCann, Jason Pridie, Jair Jurrjens, Jason Heyward

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