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Atlanta surges past Phils into first in NL East

Photo by John Bazemore

Photo by John Bazemore

ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus homered to back a strong start by Tommy Hanson and help the Atlanta Braves move into first place in the National League East with a 9-3 victory Monday over the slumping Philadelphia Phillies.

The Braves, winners of six straight, are one-half game ahead of Philadelphia, which has dropped two straight and nine of 13.

Improving to 16-4 since May 10, the Braves have made up 7 games in the NL East since May 17, when they were in last place. Atlanta hasn't held first place in the division this late in a season since 2005.

Philadelphia, which was shut out in five of its previous eight games, had just three hits off Hanson (5-3) before the right-hander left with two outs in the seventh.

Lowering his ERA 28 points to 3.78, Hanson struck out two and did not allow a walk after issuing three in the first two innings. The right-hander benefited from double plays that ended scoring threats in the first and second.

Atlanta took a 3-0 lead in the first on Jones' third homer, a two-run shot, and Eric Hinske's RBI single. In the third, the Braves went up 6-0 on an RBI by Hinske and Yunel Escobar's two-run double.

Glaus' eighth homer, a three-run shot in the seventh off reliever Chad Durbin, made it 9-3.

Joe Blanton (1-4) lost his second straight start after giving up eight hits, six runs -- four earned -- and one walk with two strikeouts. Fielding errors by right fielder Ross Gload in the first and first baseman Ryan Howard in the third led to two unearned runs.

The Phillies began the game as the first club since the 1992 Chicago Cubs to get shut out five times over an eight-game span, according to the team.

Philadelphia, which won the 2008 World Series and a second straight NL title in 2009, also is struggling defensively with 12 errors in the last nine games.

With his offense slumping, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel changed the batting order with Gload leading off, Greg Dobbs in the No. 2 spot and Shane Victorino hitting fifth. They went a combined 0 for 8.

The Phillies were without third baseman Placido Polanco, who has a .329 average in 216 career at-bats against Atlanta, and right fielder Jayson Werth, who was given the day off despite a .341 career average with three homers and 12 RBIs in 128 career plate appearances at Turner Field.

Manuel was ejected in the third for arguing that a call by home plate umpire Larry Vanover shouldn't have been overturned by the umpiring crew. Vanover initially ruled that Dobbs' uniform was hit by a pitch, but Atlanta manager Bobby Cox successfully appealed.

NOTES: Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, who came off the disabled list after missing 18 games with elbow inflammation, pitched a perfect eighth. ... Braves RHP Jair Jurrjens threw a 45-pitch bullpen session that went well, according to Cox. ... Hanson has won two straight starts for the first time in 11 starts this season. ... Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin managed the rest of game following Manuel's ejection.