Seventh-inning rally does trick for Phillies

Seventh-inning rally does trick for Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- On a night that Roy Halladay set a dubious personal mark, the Phillies' offense picked up their ace not once, not twice, but three times.

Wilson Valdez scored from second on a sacrifice fly and an error in the seventh as the Phillies beat Milwaukee, 5-4, at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night. The Phillies (78-58) are now 20 games over .500 for the first time this season and kept within one game of Atlanta, a 2-0 winner over Florida, in the National League East. The win also means the Phillies will remain three games ahead of San Francisco -- who defeated the Dodgers, 5-4 -- in the NL Wild Card race.

"To come out of a game like that with a win is good," said Halladay, who allowed four solo home runs in one game for the first time in 342 career games but still became the first Phillies pitcher to win 17 games in a season since Jon Lieber in 2005. "As a pitcher, it's a great feeling. Instead of burying yourself, you can come in tomorrow a little more upbeat."

"[Halladay] wasn't as sharp as I've seen him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He got the ball up on the home runs. Outside that, it was about hitting."

The Phillies were able to forge their first lead of the night after the Brewers took their third lead of the night in the top of the seventh inning. In the bottom half of the two previous innings the Brewers (62-72) had scored -- two in the second and one in the third -- the Phillies had rallied to match the visitors each time with an identical output.

Shane Victorino led off the inning with a single up the middle off reliever Kameron Loe, with the Brewers up, 4-3, on a solo home run by Corey Hart in the top half of the inning. Carlos Ruiz followed with his third hit of the night, the sixth three-hit game for the catcher since the All-Star break, and Loe's night was complete.

Rookie Zach Braddock, who grew up across the Delaware River from Philadelphia in South Jersey and played for Gloucester Catholic High School, walked pinch-hitter Valdez -- who had every intention of laying down a sacrifice bunt -- on four pitches. The left-handed Braddock then got Jimmy Rollins to hit into a fielder's choice, which brought Placido Polanco to the plate with the bases loaded.

"I was thinking, 'Be alert and if something happens, I'll be able to score,'" Valdez said.

Polanco lifted a ball into left field that Ryan Braun camped out under. Ruiz took off for home and Braun's throw was late and behind Ruiz, and the ball bounced off Ruiz to the backstop on the third-base side away from Braddock, who was on the first-base side. That opened the door for Valdez to score from second for a 5-4 lead.

"I was watching it the whole way," Valdez said. "I saw the ball and took advantage. The pitcher was on the left side and I thought I had a chance, I think I had the whole plate to slide in on because he thought I was going to run through [catcher Jonathan Lucroy]."

"I think if the catcher had better position, it would have been a real close play [on Ruiz]," Manuel said. "I think we would have had a collision from what I saw, if you go back and take a look at it."

Meanwhile, Halladay, who has had plenty of games this season in which the offense didn't give him much support, was appreciative of the quick action taken by his teammates in this game.

"When you give up two in the second inning, knowing that once we scored our two ... we were right back in the game," Halladay said. "That's big, especially in games where you are battling a little bit. When you know it's a close game, it gives you that little extra bit to do what you can.

"Things sometimes snowball, so to get those runs right back was important."

Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.