Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson, left, wipes his face as he walks off the field after being pulled in the 6th.
PHILADELPHIA — Phillies fans usually love to boo and heckle ol’ Lar-ry.
On his farewell tour, they had nothing but respect for Chipper Jones.
The fans stood and applauded when Phillies infielders Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley presented the eight-time All-Star with a painting of himself taking a swing in the batter’s box.
They saved their loudest cheers for Jones in the eighth — after he struck out swinging.
Kevin Frandsen hit one of Philadelphia’s four solo homers to back Kyle Kendrick, and the Phillies inched closer in the NL playoff race with a 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Utley also went deep for the resurgent Phillies, who pulled within three games of St. Louis for the league’s second wild-card spot with their fourth straight win. Milwaukee and Los Angeles also stand in Philadelphia’s way with 11 games remaining.
Despite the loss, the Braves are in excellent position to secure a postseason berth. Their magic number for clinching a spot was five.
“We’ve got enough stress going on in the field. The last thing we need to worry about is if Milwaukee is beating Washington right now,” Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “You’ve got to win games, and if you don’t win games, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the scoreboard.”
Jones was 0 for 4 and struck out twice. He’s had some of his best games against the Phillies: Jones entered with a .332 career average with 49 home runs and 151 RBIs against them. His 49 homers match his total against the New York Mets for his personal best against one team.
Jones hit .350 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs in 62 games against the Phillies in the since-demolished Veterans Stadium.
He was on the bench as an inactive member of the roster for the 1993 Braves when they lost to the Phillies in the NLCS.
“I can remember leaving the Vet and all the fans outside the stadium almost tipped our bus over,” Jones said. “It was a little intro into what Philly fans were all about. That was fun.”
They could have used some classic Chipper against Kendrick.
Kendrick (10-11) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out six. He is 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA since Aug. 14.
“It’s almost like it was a new pitcher tonight,” Freeman said. “I never faced a Kendrick like that. We’ll have to put that one in the memory banks.”
The Phillies aren’t going to win their sixth straight NL East title, but they have made a remarkable turnaround to still be playing meaningful games. When two-time All-Star outfielders Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino were traded on July 31, the Phillies were 45-57 and 13 games behind the second wild-card team. They are 32-17 since and have gained 10 games in the standings.
“I’m proud of them,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I’ve seen times where we could’ve folded tent. That’s a mark of a bunch of guys who love to play and definitely want to win.”
Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson (12-9) gave up five runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings to remain winless since July 30. Hanson is 0-4 in his last seven starts.
“I feel like I’m battling my (rear) off to help my teammates out and help my team win,” Hanson said. “As of right now, I’m not doing a very good job.”
Frandsen hit a towering shot to left to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead in the third. The journeyman infielder has filled in nicely for the injured Placido Polanco, hitting .329 in 155 at-bats.
Howard and Ruiz made it 4-1 with consecutive homers in the fourth. Howard has connected three straight days, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth to lift the Phillies over the Mets 3-2 on Wednesday night in New York.
Ruiz hit an RBI single to extend the lead to 5-1 in the sixth.
Michael Bourn’s RBI single with two outs in the seventh got the Braves within 5-2 and ended Kendrick’s night.
Juan Pierre tripled and scored on Utley’s RBI groundout for a 1-0 Phillies lead in the first.
Brian McCann’s RBI groundout in the second tied it.
Notes: Braves SS Martin Prado had his NL-best 56th multi-hit game of the season. … Hanson has pitched less than six innings in each of his last six outings. … Braves SS Andrelton Simmons could return to the lineup Saturday. He injured his right shoulder Monday. … Braves INF Paul Janish could be out 3-to-4 weeks with a dislocated left shoulder. … Roy Halladay (10-7) faces Mike Minor (9-11) on Saturday afternoon. Halladay has won six of his last seven decisions for the Phillies.