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CHC@PHI: Blanton allows just two runs over 7 1/3

The expected pitchers' duel on Wednesday never came to fruition, as the Braves and Phillies engaged in one of the biggest slugfests of the young season. Chipper Jones' 11th-inning walk-off two-run home run snapped Atlanta's seven-game losing streak to the Phillies, setting up Thursday's rubber match.

Looking to continue the Braves' rebound against their division rivals, and his own course correction, is Randall Delgado. The right-hander, who has faced questions about his place in the Atlanta rotation, returns to the bump coming off a shaky outing against the Pirates on Saturday. That night, Delgado allowed four earned runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Despite surrendering nine earned runs and 11 hits over 9 2/3 innings across two starts, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez remains optimistic about Delgado's efforts and his place in the rotation.

"The little I know him from last year and all this year, he's going to be OK," Gonzalez said following Delgado previous start. "He's going to use these last two outings as an experience and a builder and keep going forward."

Overall, Delgado has pitched to a 2-2 record and 6.30 ERA on the season. He has allowed nearly two baserunners per inning and failed to complete six innings.

"He needs to make some adjustments," Gonzalez said. "For me, it's all about him getting ahead in the count."

Conversely, Joe Blanton looks to continue his strong efforts, after earning his second victory of the year on Saturday against the Cubs. Blanton lasted 7 1/3 innings in that start, allowing two earned runs while striking out eight and walking zero. The right-hander had surrendered 10 runs (seven earned) on 18 hits over 11 innings in his two starts from April 17-22.

Blanton has faced tough sledding against the Braves. He is 1-4 with a 5.43 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) against Atlanta.

Phillies: Thome to the DL; Lee getting closer
The Phillies place Jim Thome on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained lower back. The move to sideline Thome allowed the Phillies to recall catcher Erik Kratz from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and push the roster back to 25 healthy players. Kratz was hitting .294 with three home runs, nine RBIs and four doubles in Triple-A. Thome is just 2-for-18 (.111) so far this season.

• Cliff Lee is eyeing next week for a return to the Phillies' rotation. Lee, who has not pitched since straining his left oblique on April 18, threw his first bullpen session on Wednesday without any pain. Lee is slated to throw another session on Saturday.

"I feel good about it," Lee said. "If things go well, it's one more bullpen and then the game. That's the plan for now, but that's all flexible."

Braves: Regaining their timeliness
The Braves followed a 1-for-6 night with runners in scoring position on Tuesday by going 7-for-13 in such situations on Wednesday. That turnaround helped snap the Braves out of a 4-for-36 funk with runners in scoring position from April 28-May 1. The Braves, who have scored 133 runs this season, compiled a National League-best .302 average (39-for-129) and 62 RBIs with runners in scoring position from April 13-27.

Worth noting
• Michael Bourn has hit safely in 17 of his past 19 games since April 13, including 10 multi-hit games. He is hitting .382 (31-for-81) with six steals during that stretch.

• The Phillies are hitting .280 (56-for-200) with runners in scoring position this season, and .515 (17-for-33) in their past five games.

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