PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The two top contenders in the National League East battled into extra innings before Raul Ibanez hit a walk-off home run to give the Philadelphia Phillies the 3-2 triumph over the Atlanta Braves in 10 innings Friday.
Ibanez lifted a blast in the 10th against losing pitcher Scott Proctor to help the Major League-best Phillies (56-33) seize a 3.5-game lead over the Braves (53-37).
"It's definitely a good feeling," Ibanez told reporters. "You definitely don't try to do that. You try to look for a pitch to drive and when you do it, there's no better feeling as a player."
Philadelphia has led the division for all but one day this season as they target their fifth consecutive NL East crown, but Atlanta has managed to stay close.
In the opener of a three-game series between the sides, Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay struck out seven batters and allowed two runs during seven innings of his no-decision and reliever Juan Perez pitched the top of the 10th to get the win.
Atlanta scored in the second and took a 2-1 lead against Halladay in the top of the fourth before the Phillies fought back in the bottom half of the inning with a game-tying homer from Carlos Ruiz.
Pitching against the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Atlanta's Brandon Beachy threw six innings and allowed two runs.
The showdown played out later than expected after the start of the game was delayed by rain for nearly two hours.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in LA; Editing by Alastair Himmer)