PHILADELPHIA — A pregame meeting couldn’t wake up the struggling Philadelphia Phillies.
Jair Jurrjens pitched eight scoreless innings and Brian McCann hit two homers, including a grand slam, to lead the Atlanta Braves to an 8-2 victory over the Phillies on Friday night.
Jurrjens (10-5) allowed three hits, struck out six and walked one. The 22-year-old right-hander leads all rookies in wins, and he lowered his ERA to 3.02.
“It was a big win for us,” Jurrjens said. “We just have to keep winning series.”
The Braves are desperately trying to stay in contention in the NL East, a division in which three teams — New York, Florida and the Phillies — are separated by two games. Atlanta trails first-place New York by 61/2 games.
The free-falling Phillies have lost five of seven since the All-Star break and fell two games behind the Mets after leading the division for nearly two months.
Manager Charlie Manuel addressed several issues before the game, but it didn’t help.
“Just because we don’t win that night, hopefully some of the things we talked about will be good for us,” Manuel said.
McCann led off the fourth against Kyle Kendrick (8-5) with a drive to center for a 1-0 lead. He connected for his 20th homer off Brad Lidge during a seven-run ninth. Lidge, the All-Star closer who hasn’t blown a save this season, had not allowed a home run this year in 42 innings.
Kendrick gave up one run and seven hits in six innings but like the rest of Philadelphia’s starters lately, he didn’t get much support. Ryan Howard hit his major league-leading 30th homer with two outs in the ninth.
“There’s nothing you can do about it,” Kendrick said.
Philadelphia was a season-high 13 games over .500 and had a season-best four-game lead in the division after a 20-2 win at St. Louis on June 13. Since then, the Phillies are 13-21 and the offense has sputtered: They have scored two runs or fewer 13 times in those 34 games, including three shutouts.
“I’m surprised our guys have gone this long without breaking out of it,” Manuel said.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins was back in the lineup after being benched for arriving late to the ballpark before Thursday afternoon’s 3-1 loss to the Mets.
None of the hitters showed up Friday and Jurrjens had a lot to do with it. He made key pitches and got strong defense, particularly from shortstop Yunel Escobar and third baseman Omar Infante.
“J.J. pitched great,” McCann said. “We only needed one run the way he was pitching.”
The Phillies had a runner on third with one out in the first, but Chase Utley struck out and Howard flied out to center. Utley struck out to leave a runner on second in the sixth.
The All-Star second baseman was 0-for-17 before hitting a single in the ninth. He’s batting .241 (26-for-108) with runners in scoring position this season.
Kendrick pitched out of two bases-loaded jams. He retired Jurrjens on a grounder to end the second and got Mark Kotsay to fly out to close the fifth.
Notes: Braves 3B Chipper Jones sat out with a strained left hamstring. Jones, who leads the majors with a .369 batting average, could be headed for the DL. ... Braves LHP Mike Hampton is scheduled to make his first start in 35 months on Saturday. ... Phillies 3B Pedro Feliz was scratched from the lineup because of tightness in his lower back. ... McCann has five career slams and four multihomer games. ... Lidge gave up five runs without retiring a batter. His ERA rose from 1.29 to 2.36.