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Gload’s hit lifts Phillies over Braves

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ross Gload rounded first base and stopped before a mob of teammates swarmed him. Gload has struggled lately, so the playful punches were most welcome.

Gload hit a pinch RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep and extend their lead to 10½ games in the NL East.

“For me, it’s huge because I haven’t had many,” said Gload, who was 4 for 33 before the at-bat. “I’ll take it. It’s big for me, bigger for the team.”

The major league-leading Phillies (91-48) reduced their magic number to 12 for clinching their fifth straight division title. They are 43 games above .500 for the first time in franchise history.

Second-place Atlanta still should reach the postseason barring a late collapse. The Braves entered 7½ games ahead of St. Louis and San Francisco in the wild-card race.

“Right now, they’re just playing really good baseball and we’re not scoring any runs,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “It’s just not happening for us right now.”

It may be a costly win for the Phillies because five-time All-Star Chase Utley left the game for precautionary reasons for a possible concussion, two innings after he was hit in the helmet by a pitch from Eric O’Flaherty.



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