Phils score four in 8th to pull within game of Brewers, wild-card lead

PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Burrell carried the Philadelphia Phillies through the early part of the season.

Now he's trying to lift them into the playoffs for the second straight year.

Burrell snapped out of a recent slump with two hits, including the go-ahead single in the eighth inning, and the Phillies tightened a pair of NL races by beating Milwaukee 7-3 Sunday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.

"It's big. I can't lie," said Burrell, whose average dipped to .250 before Sunday's game. "I needed to get a hit in a situation with the game on the line."

Ryan Howard hit his major league-leading 44th home run and Shane Victorino also connected as the Phillies beat the Brewers for the third straight time and moved within one game of Milwaukee for the wild-card spot.

Philadelphia also got within 1 1/2 games of New York in the NL East chase. The finale of this four-game series was set for 7:35 p.m., the result of Friday's night rainout.

The Brewers are trying to avoid a repeat of last year's late collapse, when they built an 8 1/2-game lead in the NL Central in late June only to finish two games behind the Chicago Cubs.

"When you're struggling, things never seem to go your way," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.

It was 3-all when Jayson Werth led off the Phillies eighth with a single against Guillermo Mota (5-6). Chase Utley followed with a sacrifice bunt and Howard was intentionally walked before Burrell singled off Brian Shouse. Victorino then hit a three-run homer to give the Phillies a cushion.

"Every night, there's somebody else picking us up," Victorino said. "That's how you win a pennant."

Scott Eyre (4-0) got two outs for the victory. Mota had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 14 1/3, spanning 16 appearances.

Joe Blanton overcame a shaky start to toss seven effective innings for Philadelphia. He gave up five hits and three earned runs and still has not lost since the Phillies got him from Oakland on July 17 -- he's 2-0 over those 11 starts.

"I just tried to be aggressive," Blanton said. "I left a couple balls over the plate in the first inning and the guys had good swings on me."

Brewers starter Dave Bush allowed five hits and three earned runs in six innings.

Utley was hit by a pitch in the sixth and Howard hit the tying home run. The Phillies slugger also leads the majors with 133 RBIs.

Mike Cameron launched his 25th homer of the season, a solo shot into the upper deck in left, for a 3-1 lead in the fifth.

Corey Hart led off the game with a triple and scored on Ray Durham's homer. The Phillies cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth when Burrell grounded into a double play, scoring Utley.

Game notes
Hart thwarted a Phillies rally with a terrific catch in right field to end the fifth. Werth lofted a towering fly ball and Hart seemed to lose the ball in the sun before locating it and making a difficult catch as he fell to the ground. ... Utley was hit by a pitch for the 26th time, setting a team record. He leads the majors this year in HBPs. ... This was the first doubleheader featuring the Phillies and Brewers. Game 1 drew a crowd of 43,950, the 47th sellout this season.