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Six-run second inning helps Braves rout Phillies

POSTED: March 26, 2008 5:01 a.m.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Shortstop Yunel Escobar’s grand slam capped a six-run second inning and the Braves battered Francisco Rosario in a 9-1 victory over the Phillies on Friday.

Rosario, trying to nail down the Phillies’ fifth starter job, did himself no favors. The righty, who entered the game with a 1.04 ERA in 8 Ã innings out of the bullpen, became erratic and ineffective in the second inning. He yielded six runs and three hits, two walks and also hit two batters.

"I couldn’t throw my slider," Rosario said, blaming the wet weather.

"He was having a hard time throwing strikes (and) then all of a sudden he started overthrowing," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Then he hit a couple of batters, he started getting behind and they hit him. He kind of lost his composure."

Atlanta fill-in starter Royce Ring allowed one run and three hits in two innings of work to earn the win. Ring was given the start when Braves manager Bobby Cox decided to hold veteran Tim Hudson back.

"I didn’t want him to warm up in the rain. It was a bad day to pitch," Cox said of a game that was delayed by 31 minutes at the start because of rain.

Cox’s Braves improved to 10-5-2 in Grapefruit League play. The defending National League East champion Phillies dropped to 5-11-1.

After the game, Manuel said his team needs to step it up for the remainder of the spring schedule. Philadelphia has dropped nine of 11 after starting 3-2-1.

"It’s good to be relaxed and it’s good to be loose, but it’s about time for us to talk," Manuel said. "We got some guys that are too cool and there’s a fine line between having a real good time and being relaxed, and taking it for granted and being complacent.

"We have something happening, but it’s nothing that we can’t take care of."Notes: Following Friday’s game, the Phillies reassigned top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco to minor league camp. Before he left, Carrasco threw three scoreless innings of relief against the Braves. ... The Phillies also reassigned left-handed pitcher Josh Outman and outfielders Greg Golson and Brandon Watson. ... Cox said Hudson will throw in a simulated game on Saturday.



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