ATLANTA - A baseball man through and through, Charlie Manuel regards the integrity of the game as sacrosanct, which is why he wanted San Diego manager Bud Black to know he was doing his best to beat the Atlanta Braves in a series that meant nothing to the Phillies.
"Yeah, I want him [Black] to say we put a competitive team on the field," the Phillies manager said.
No doubt, Black and the Padres were tuned in to Friday's Phillies-Braves game at Turner Field, looking for help from the Phils as they tried to catch Atlanta in the race for the National League wild card.
The Phillies obliged as struggling Jimmy Rollins hit a first-pitch grand slam in a five-run sixth inning to send the team to an 11-5 win, denying the Braves a chance to clinch the wild-card berth.
The night began with Atlanta holding a two-game lead over San Diego.
Manuel, who is trying to maintain a delicate balance between resting some players for the postseason and continuing the momentum of his hot team, started six regulars.
"I think we showed them we're here to play," Manuel said. "We did some real good things."
Manuel said he might start all his regulars Saturday, adding, "That doesn't mean they'll play the whole game."
Although they are likely to face Cincinnati, the Phillies remained uncertain about their opponent for the National League division series, which begins Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.
Before Rollins broke open the game, the Phillies gave righthander Kyle Kendrick a 2-1 lead on four singles in the fourth inning. Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz had the RBIs. Ruiz went 3 for 5 to boost his batting average to a team-best .302. He is trying to become the first Phillies catcher to bat .300 since Mike Lieberthal in 2003 and only the second Phils catcher to do so since Smoky Burgess hit .368 in 1954. He also could become only the fourth catcher to lead the Phillies in hitting since 1971.
Kendrick was pulled for pinch-hitter Domonic Brown in the Phils' big sixth inning after allowing two runs over five. Brown had the go-ahead RBI when he drew a bases-loaded walk during a quality at-bat before Rollins launched his third career grand slam, on the first pitch by reliever Mike Dunn, to make it 7-2.
As he tries to find his stroke before the postseason, Rollins was expected to see more at-bats than any of the other Phillies regulars during this final weekend of the regular season. Rollins returned to the lineup Sunday after missing 14 games following a right hamstring injury on Sept. 8. The shortstop has had two stays on the disabled list and has missed 74 games overall as a result of injuries.
"I'm trying to get ready for the playoffs and get as many at-bats as I can if they let me, and do as much as I can with them and learn from what I did right and what I did wrong, because every at-bat counts in the playoffs," Rollins said.
Kendrick, who likely was making his final start of the season, had two of his best games at Turner Field earlier in the season. He pitched eight scoreless innings and allowed four hits on April 20 but got no decision in a 4-3 loss. He gave up one run and five hits over seven innings on June 2, but had no decision in a 2-1 defeat.