Phils clinch 5th straight division

Shane Victorino celebrates his 6th inning home run. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

It was a statement start for Roy Oswalt, who has struggled since August 1.

If there was any doubt who the 4th starter in the playoffs is going to be, Oswalt topped Vance Worley’s performance from last night with seven shut out innings to lead the Phils to a 9-2 win and clinch of their 5th straight NL East crown.

Oswalt’s fastball was hitting its spots as well as his use of the slider and its effectiveness. He allowed only five hits and struck out seven in his outing, improving his record to 8-9.

The Phils got runs in the 1st, 4th and 6th innings to give Oswalt a 3-0 lead. Hunter Pence hit an RBI double in the 1st,  Shane Victorino was walked in the 4th to make it 2-0 and a solo homer by Victorino in the 6th to make it 3-0.

But the fireworks didn’t start for the Phils until after Oswalt was out of the game. Clinging onto a 3-2 lead, the Phils needed some sort of spark to bust out of the mini offensive slump they had been in. After putting up two runs in the bottom of the 8th, Raul Ibanez hit a grand slam to make it a 9-2 game and put the Cardinals away for good.

The offense provided big nights for both Victorino and Ibanez, who combined for seven RBIs. Victorino had been slumping big time the past two weeks and he got out of it in a big way, going 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs.

Ryan Madson had already been warming and still pitched the 9th inning anyway. He retired the side without a run and sealed the Phils 5th straight division title. He got Rafael Furcal to ground out to Chase Utley, who snagged it with his bare hand and threw it to Ryan Howard for the final out.

Oh, and Pence is a marketing champ. Look for the “Let’s pop bottles” shirts soon seeing as he’s full on food and ready to drink.

2B: Pence (38). HR: Victorino (17), Ibanez (19).

WP: Oswalt (8-9). LP: Westbrook (12-9).

Boxscore.

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