MILWAUKEE (AP) - Vance Worley hesitated, thinking he had strike three on Ryan Braun in the seventh.
It just missed, and Braun made the most of another opportunity.
Braun singled in the go-ahead run off Worley and the slumping Milwaukee Brewers rallied for a much-needed 3-2 victory over the Phillies on Sunday that snapped Philadelphia's winning streak at six.
``I left him in the game because I wanted to get Braun out and still have a chance to win the game,' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
The Phillies had won Worley's last 14 starts dating to May 29, one short of the franchise record set when Steve Carlton was on the mound in 1972.
He was in position in this one, too.
Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard homered against Yovani Gallardo (16-10) in the sixth to take a 2-1 lead.
Milwaukee's seventh-inning rally started with a flare double by Corey Hart. Nyjer Morgan then lashed one of his own and stretched his arms high above his head as part of his ``beast mode' celebration he helped begin with Prince Fielder this season.
Braun hit a long fly ball off Worley that was barely foul in the right-field corner, then singled to right to give Milwaukee a 3-2 lead after taking Worley's pitch just out of the zone.
``You are not going to get calls every time and that's just something you have to deal with,' Worley said. ``He's a good hitter. He's got a great batting average and he's one of the best in the game. Good for him and I'm sure it won't be the last hit I give up to him.'
The Phillies could have clinched a playoff spot with a win and a St. Louis loss. The Cardinals beat the Braves 6-3.
Instead, the major league-leading Phillies (94-49) remain 12 games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East and could wrap up their fifth straight division title as soon as Wednesday after winning three of four in Milwaukee.
``I think coming into any series and taking three out of four is a good sign,' Victorino said. ``It's a good test. But when playoff time comes and October rolls around you throw all this out the door.'
Braun said Philadelphia will reach the postseason and the Brewers just hope to make it. Milwaukee entered last week with a 10 1/2-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central, but it has dwindled to six with 14 to play.
``You're not going to play anybody tougher than the Phillies,' Braun said. ``I think this is the best team in the National League and the best team in baseball, and has been all year.'
Philadelphia stranded runners at the corners in the eighth when Howard grounded out against Francisco Rodriguez.
Brewers closer John Axford allowed a one-out single by Pete Orr and a two-out walk to Michael Martinez before John Bowker popped out weakly. Axford has converted 39 consecutive save opportunities and is 42 for 44 overall.
Victorino led off the sixth with his 16th homer after Gallardo had allowed just one hit - a second-inning single to Howard - up to that point. Howard added his 33rd home run and NL-best 112th RBI to put Philadelphia ahead even though Gallardo had struck out two or more batters in four different innings.
``Gallardo was able to keep them in the ballgame,' Victorino said. ``Obviously, we went out and got that one-run lead, but he found a way to settle down and keep them going.'
NOTES: Phillies batters struck out a season-high 14 times. ... Phillies RF Hunter Pence went 7 for 17 with a home run and three RBIs in the series. ... Milwaukee has a day off before starting a two-game series with Colorado. Brewers RHP Zack Greinke (14-6, 3.93 ERA) will pitch Tuesday's opener followed by RHP Shaun Marcum (12-6, 3.25 ERA). ... The Phillies continue their seven-game road trip with a series with the Astros. RHP Roy Oswalt (7-8, 3.72 ERA) makes his return to Houston where he'll face former Philadelphia RHP Brett Myers (4-13, 4.66 ERA).
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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