A trip to Philadelphia might be all that Matt Diaz needs to get back in a hitting groove.
Diaz hit a tiebreaking double in the 11th inning, Eric Hinske added a two-run homer and the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-3, on Tuesday night.
Yunel Escobar singled off David Herndon (0-2) to start the 11th and scored when Diaz ripped a liner to the gap in right-center. Mike Zagurski got the next two outs before Hinske connected.
Diaz finished 3 for 5 with two doubles. He’s hitting .333 (23 for 69) with 12 extra-base hits lifetime at Citizens Bank Park.
“It’s definitely a fun park to hit in,” said Diaz, who had been 1 for 7 since returning from the disabled list last week. “It’s one of the top two or three parks to hit in. In fact, it’s probably No. 1. The ball carries.”
Jesse Chavez (1-1) pitched a scoreless 10th to earn the win. Billy Wagner finished for his 18th save in 21 chances.
Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer for Philadelphia, which managed just three hits.
The two-time NL champion Phillies fell five games behind the Braves. They will try to win the series when Jamie Moyer, 47. goes for his 10th victory on Wednesday night.
Phillies starter Cole Hamels allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings, striking out eight. The 2008 World Series MVP is 1-5 in his past eight starts, despite allowing three earned runs or fewer in seven of them.
“I’ve had some tough games,” Hamels said. “I feel comfortable and excited for the second half.”
Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens allowed three runs and just two hits in six-plus innings. Two of the three batters he walked scored.
After the Braves took a 3-2 lead on Martin Prado’s solo homer in the seventh, the Phillies answered quickly in the bottom half. Ibanez walked to start the inning. Ryan Howard then hit an opposite-field triple that just eluded left fielder Diaz’s leaping attempt. The ball bounced away from Diaz, allowing the slow-footed Howard to reach third standing.
But Howard stayed right there.
Peter Moylan replaced Jurrjens and struck out Jayson Werth looking at five pitches. Jonny Venters entered and retired pinch-hitter Ben Francisco on a shallow fly and Wilson Valdez on a grounder.
“I don’t think you can hit if you don’t swing,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, referring to Werth’s at-bat. “You got to score there. You have a man on third with nobody out, you have to score period.”
Six Braves relievers combined to pitch five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk.
“Our bullpen was fantastic again,” manager Bobby Cox said.
Atlanta had runners at first and third in the eighth, but Jose Contreras and J.C. Romero worked out of the jam.
Hamels seemed to get stronger as the game wore on. He struck out the first two batters in the seventh before grooving a 1-2 fastball to Prado. The All-Star second baseman lined it just over the left-field wall to give the Braves a 3-2 lead. Hamels then struck out Omar Infante, firing a 96 mph fastball past the All-Star utilityman on his 117th and final pitch of the night.
The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but scored only one run. Troy Glaus grounded into a double play to score Prado.
Ibanez, filling in for the injured Chase Utley as the No. 3 hitter, drove a 1-2 pitch out to deep right for a 2-1 lead in the first.
Notes: Phillies C Carlos Ruiz (concussion) will start a rehab assignment on Wednesday. … GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies will not call up OF Domonic Brown to be a bench player. “You bring him up when he’s ready to be an everyday player,” Amaro said. Brown, a top prospect, was only recently promoted to Triple-A. … Glaus returned after missing three games with a sore left knee. … A crowd of 44,715 was the 79th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park.