MLB Wrap: Dan Haren leads Nats past Braves

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MLB Wrap: Dan Haren leads Nats past Braves

The Phillies picked up a much-needed 7-2 win over the Marlins Thursday night in their return home (see story).

Solid Haren leads Nats top Braves
ATLANTA -- Dan Haren pitched eight sharp innings, Denard Span hit a two-run double and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 Thursday night.

The Nationals, who snapped a nine-game losing streak to Atlanta on Wednesday, allowed their NL East rivals to get only three runners in scoring position over two nights.

Haren (3-3) won his second consecutive start, giving up four hits and one run with one walk and four strikeouts.

Rafael Soriano earned his ninth save in 10 chances by pitching the ninth. He retired Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman on groundouts before Evan Gattis singled and Dan Uggla popped up (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Dempster, Red Sox down Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Ryan Dempster won his second straight start and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a season-high 10 walks to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Thursday night.

Dempster (2-2) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. The right-hander, who walked three and struck out four, retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.

Winless in his first four starts this season, Dempster posted his first victory by beating Houston a week ago.

Andrew Miller got two outs in seventh and Junichi Tazawa got the third. Koji Uehara pitched the eighth and Joel Hanrahan finished for his fourth save in five chances (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Westbrook gets 100th win as Cards edge Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Jake Westbrook allowed one run over six innings for his 100th career win and the St. Louis Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Thursday night.

Westbrook (2-1), came in with a 0.98 ERA, best in the majors - it increased to 1.10. In his 12th season, he walked three and struck out four. The Brewers were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position against him.

Westbrook allowed Norichika Aoki's double to open the game and then nothing more until one out in the fourth when the Brewers pushed across a run on three consecutive singles. He struck out Alex Gonzalez and then fanned Wily Peralta (2-2), his third strikeout of the inning (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Tigers outlast Astros in 14 innings
HOUSTON -- Don Kelly had an RBI single to start a four-run 14th inning and the Detroit Tigers beat the Houston Astros 7-3 Thursday night.

Austin Jackson led off the 14th with a ground-rule double. Jackson advanced to third on a groundout by Torii Hunter before Houston intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to load the bases.

Kelly's dribbling grounder to right field scored Jackson and chased Dallas Keuchel (0-1), who came in to start the 10th.

Matt Tuiasosopo's two-run double made it 6-3 before Detroit added a run on a sacrifice fly by Jhonny Peralta.

Luke Putkonen (1-0), who was called up from Triple-A on Thursday, allowed no hits in the last 2 1-3 innings for the win in a game that took 4 hours, 50 minutes (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Phillies-Marlins rained out Tuesday; makeup date to be determined

Phillies-Marlins rained out Tuesday; makeup date to be determined

Tuesday night's Phillies-Marlins game at Citizens Bank Park has been postponed because of rain.

Details for a makeup date will be announced at a later time.

The Phillies, winnners of four straight, were set to open a three-game set against Miami.

Following this series, the Phillies head out on a seven-game road trip starting Friday night against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Vince Velasquez, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday, will now start Wednesday night's game, while Jeremy Hellickson will take the mound Thursday afternoon.

Vince Papale to Brock Stassi: 'We call that the last laugh'

Vince Papale to Brock Stassi: 'We call that the last laugh'

Former Eagle Vince Papale, the inspiration for the movie "Invincible," paid a visit to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday afternoon to meet Phillies outfielder Brock Stassi. Papale wanted to give him a copy of the film "Invincible" -- a movie Stassi has yet to see -- and talk to another Philadelphia athlete who has played the underdog role.

Papale said he couldn't help but get choked up when he first saw the video of Stassi being interviewed after he made the Phillies' roster (watch above).

"Brock's story came on and I started doing one of these," Papale said as he reached to wipe the fake tears from his eyes. "So I got my wife Janet and I said, 'You gotta come in and see this.' And I texted my son Vince down at Delaware and said, 'You see this guy? He's just like us.'

"I contacted (Phillies publicity director) John (Brazer) and texted him right then and said I wanted the film rights for this."

Stassi, a long shot to make the Phillies' roster, was the feel-good story of the spring. The six-year minor leaguer had a spring training to remember, hitting .306 (19 for 62) with six home runs and 17 RBIs.  

As always, when an underdog makes an impact in Philadelphia, there will be association to past Philly underdogs like Papale or legendary movie character Rocky Balboa.

"I did get a few ["Invincible" references on Twitter]," Stassi said of when he made the team. "A lot of people made that reference and I am honored to even be put in the same category as him."

Papale assumed the role of a reporter and posed a question to Stassi: "What kept you going?"

"Ever since I was drafted, I've believed in myself that I would be here one day," Stassi said. "And after my first spring, I was in extended spring training and that's a place you don't want to be when you are 22 years old at the time. And I ended up learning a lot about myself because you're playing on the back fields in spring training in the middle of the day, in Florida, in front of about five people, so it's really self-motivating.

"And that's kind of where I started to get the hang of pro ball and started believing in myself then. Because my first year was rough. My first year in Williamsport, had a terrible year. But, it ended up working out. It made for a lot of doubters. And it's fun proving people wrong."

Papale smiled and assured Stassi: "We call that the last laugh."