For the first six innings of today’s game, it looked like it would come down to the last frame. Roy Oswalt and Brandon Beachy were plugging away, maneuvering in out of trouble through the early going.

However, in the top of the seventh the Philadelphia Phillies’ offense finally cracked the code. 

After allowing a leadoff double to Raul Ibanez, Beachy was pulled for reliever George Sherrill, who proceeded to load the bases before being yanked. Carlos Ruiz, who had been given the day off, came in to pinch-hit and delivered his first career grand slam off Scott Linebrink to give the Phils a 7-2 lead.

Brian Schneider, who started in place of Ruiz, also sent one over the fence earlier in the game to give his team an early 3-2 lead. 

Oswalt looked solid, scattering five hits over his six innings of work and improving to 2-0. He also got himself out of a crucial bases-loaded situation in the sixth by getting Jason Heyward to fly out to end the inning.

It was Oswalt’s second solid outing to start the season, and a prime example of why the Phillies should be able to rebound after tough losses over the course of the year. When you don’t have a weak link among your top four starters, it gives your team greater ability to limit the length of losing streaks. 

Along with Ruiz and Schneider, Shane Victorino was the other offensive star for the Phils today. Shane-O-Vic went 4-5, scored two runs and stole a base as well. 

The Atlanta Braves‘ offense came back to earth after their six-run effort last night. They put two across the plate in the third inning, but didn’t look in sync for most of the game. They gave Oswalt only one other scare, in the sixth, but didn’t show much patience at the plate. 

The series finale on Sunday will see Cole Hamels trying to rebound from his poor first outing against Derek Lowe, who has been stellar in his first two starts of the season. 

April is notoriously Hamels’ worst month, so a strong outing would make some Phillies fans breathe an early-season sigh of relief. 

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