Ryan Howard homered and drove in the go-ahead run in Philadelphia’s five-run 13th inning, and the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 6-1 Monday night.
The loss left the first-place Braves (36-33) just a half-game ahead of idle Washington in the NL East. The Phillies (30-38) are in last place, but only 5 ½ games behind Atlanta.
Reid Brignac, who had three hits, including a two-run triple in the 13th, said the Phillies have ample time to climb back into the race.
“Absolutely,” Brignac said. “I saw Miami dropped one (to the Cubs) today, too. There’s still a lot of baseball left. We’re only (5 1/2) out of first.”
The Braves lost in 13 innings for the second time in three days, following an 11-6 loss to the Angels on Saturday night. They have lost four of six and 12 of their last 20 games.
“I think we need to get on a little roll,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who noted his team has played a string of long and late games.
“We’ve played three games in a row when we weren’t home before 1,” Gonzalez said.
Ben Revere led off the 13th win a sharp single up the middle off David Hale (2-2) before stealing second base and moving to third on Jimmy Rollins’ fly ball to right field. Following an intentional walk to Chase Utley, Howard hit a sharp grounder that took one hop through first baseman Freddie Freeman’s legs for an error as Revere scored from third.
“You’re always going to think about what could have been when you lose the game,” Freeman said. “Could have been (a win) if I’d caught the ground ball, get a double play right there, but it’s just one of those things. You’ve got to play perfect baseball when you don’t score a lot of runs.”
Marlon Byrd added a run-scoring single. Howard scored on a fly ball to deep right field by Carlos Ruiz before Brignac’s triple.
Antonio Bastardo (4-3) pitched two scoreless innings. Five relievers combined to allow one run in six innings.
“The bullpen was outstanding,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Cole Hamels allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings. The left-hander has pitched 23 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings over his last three starts.
“He has had quality starts several games in a row now,” Sandberg said. “He’s back to full strength. He pitched a heck of a game.”
The Braves couldn’t score after Freeman tripled off the left-field wall with one out in the 10th. Domonic Brown reached for Freeman’s shot but couldn’t make the catch. Brown then stood facing the left-field wall, apparently thinking Freeman’s blast was a homer. Revere ran over from center field to retrieve the ball.
Howard led off the second inning with a homer over the center-field wall. Jonathan Papelbon blew the 1-0 lead in the ninth.
Upton and Johnson led off with singles against Papelbon. With one out, Andrelton Simmons’ blooper fell in shallow center, allowing Upton to score the tying run from second.
Papelbon blew his second save in 17 chances.
Braves right-hander Julio Teheran allowed only one run on four hits and no walks in eight innings.
The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh but couldn’t score. Simmons hit into a double play to end the inning.
Revere made the defensive play of the game in the fourth, catching a long drive by Freeman before crashing into the center-field wall. Revere was limping briefly after banging his knees against the padded wall, but he remained in the game.
Before the game, the Phillies placed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. on the bereavement list following the death of his father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. Gwynn Jr. traveled with the team to Atlanta before departing for San Diego. His No. 19 jersey hung in their dugout during the game.
Braves Bits: Braves RHP David Carpenter pitched a scoreless inning before leaving with discomfort in his right biceps. The Braves said Carpenter’s status is day to day. ... OF Braxton Davidson, Atlanta’s first-round pick, took batting practice. ... Freeman had three hits. ... Evan Gattis has a 16-game hitting streak, a Braves franchise record for a catcher. ... Braves RHP Ervin Santana will face Phillies LHP Kyle Kendrick tonight.