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With Victorino’s help, Phils return to first

Posted September 8, 2010, 06:56 AM HST Updated September 9, 2010, 01:28 AM HST
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By Fred Guzman

For the first time since May 30, the two-time defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies are back on top in the East.

And, wouldn’t you know it?  Center fielder Shane Victorino again played a key role for the Phillies in last night’s 8-7 victory over the Florida Marlins.

Victorino had two hits in the game, including his 17th homer of the season – a solo shot in the fifth inning. In the eighth, he got on base with a two-out single, stole second for his 30th theft of the season and then scored the go-ahead run on Placido Polanco’s clutch single.

The victory enabled the Phillies to take a half-game lead over the Atlanta Braves, who suffered a 5-0 loss to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.

In also capped a sensational recent run by the injury-riddled Phillies, who have had each of its starters on the field spend some time on the 15-day disabled list. Since trailing the Braves by seven games on July 22, the Phillies have won 32 of 46 games.

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Closer to home, Na Koa Ikaika Maui opened the best-of-five South Division playoff series last night with a 4-1 win over Orange County at Iron Maehara Stadium.

Right-hander Wes Ethridge went the distance for the first time this season. Ethridge, who entered the game with a 10-0 record and a 1.76 ERA, lived up to his gaudy statistics by allowing five hits and one unearned run while striking out six and walking three.

He received a huge early boost from Jermy Acey, who slugged a towering two-run shot over a billboard sign in left-center in the first inning.

Game 2 of the Golden Baseball League series is set for a 6:35 start tonight. After a travel day, the series resumes on Friday in Orange County.

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