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Strong outing by Vazquez helps Braves beat Phillies 6-2

PHILADELPHIA - Javier Vazquez kept his pitches down and in the strike zone. Even in a hitter-friendly park, that's a formula for success.

Vazquez pitched neatly into the eighth inning, Yunel Escobar and Brian McCann hit two-run homers and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Saturday.

Vazquez (3-3) allowed two runs and four hits, striking out seven in 72/3 innings. He had no walks and also helped himself with a double that started a three-run rally in the fifth.

'Anytime you win here is a good win,' Vazquez said. 'They score a lot of runs. You can't walk people in parks like this, and I was getting my first pitch over for strikes.'

Chase Utley hit his 10th homer and Raul Ibanez also went deep for the Phillies, who got another poor performance from a starting pitcher. Joe Blanton (1-3) gave up six runs and eight hits in eight innings.

Blanton's shaky start was the latest in a slew of rough outings for a rotation that played a vital role in helping the Phillies win the World Series last season. Philadelphia's starters are 7-10 with a 6.47 ERA.

'It's one of those where you can go home and take a lot of positives out of it,' Blanton said. 'Ninety-eight percent of the time, if I throw the ball that well, I'm not going to give up six runs.'

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was somewhat encouraged.

'Overall, he battled, changed speeds,' Manuel said. 'His mistakes got him in trouble. The ball is carrying right now.'

Vazquez was hitless in his first 12 at-bats this season before lining a one-out double down the left-field line in the fifth. He scored on Kelly Johnson's double. Escobar followed with a drive to the seats in left-center for a 4-1 lead.

McCann, wearing glasses after missing 13 games with an eye infection, connected in the eighth to make it 6-1. McCann wore a new mask behind the plate and didn't have trouble with his glasses fogging up.

Ibanez hit one into the second deck in right field in the eighth for his ninth homer.