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Braves flub another one

Ice-cold Phillies heat up in Atlanta

POSTED: July 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, left, jumps to avoid Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley as he safely slides into third base on a single by Phillies' Ryan Howard during the third inning Tuesday in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA — Kyle Kendrick and the Philadelphia Phillies emerged from their interleague blahs to resume their mastery of the Atlanta Braves, ruining the surprise return of Chipper Jones.

Shane Victorino hit a home run and drove in four runs and Kendrick and the Phillies beat the Braves 8-3 on Tuesday night to remain unbeaten at Turner Field this season.

Pat Burrell also hit a homer for the Phillies, who improved to 6-1 against the Braves this season. They are 4-0 in Atlanta.

The Phillies spoiled the return of Jones, who missed eight straight starts with a strained right quadriceps. Jones, 1-for-3 with a double and two walks, had been expected to go on the DL but instead told manager Bobby Cox before the game that he was ready to play. He said he had no problems with the injury but added "We got our butts whipped tonight."

Kendrick (8-3) is 2-0 against the Braves this season and 3-0 in his career.

"I don’t know what it is," said Kendrick, who gave up seven hits and three runs in six innings.

The Phillies took three straight wins in Atlanta on June 6-8 but then lost six straight series, including four against American League teams. Manager Charlie Manuel said his team may have found comfort in facing the Braves, a familiar opponent.

"Yeah, it can help you without a doubt," Manuel said.

"Maybe (Monday’s) day off helped us too, and absolutely getting over here where we know the players."

The Phillies, only 4-11 in interleague play, are 41-28 against NL teams.

"It’s nice to come back to the division and win a game in our division," Victorino said.

"It’s definitely a big win, especially the first game back playing a division team."

Kendrick gave up only four hits in the first six innings before failing to record an out in the seventh, when he was charged with three runs.

"Kendrick pitched really well," Jones said, adding the right-hander "stayed in on the hands of the lefties; didn’t allow them to get extended."

The Phillies are 13-4 in Kendrick’s starts. One of Kendrick’s no-decisions came in a 5-4 win over the Braves on May 13 in Philadelphia.

"He’s definitely taken us to a point of the game where we can win," Manuel said. "He’s been absolutely great for us."

The Braves were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded runners on second and third in the seventh.

Atlanta’s Mark Kotsay came off the disabled list after missing 33 games since May 26 with a lower back strain. He went 0-for-4.

The Braves had one of the best home records in baseball in the first two months of the season but are only 3-7 in the last 10 home games, including the four losses to the Phillies.

The Phillies, who averaged only 2.8 runs while posting a 2-9 mark in their last 11 games, broke out with 14 hits. Philadelphia scored five runs on eight hits in the first three innings against Braves rookie Charlie Morton (1-2).

Cox said Morton "just wasn’t sharp tonight at all. Nothing was real crisp."

Morton agreed.

"Tonight was as bad as my arm’s felt, in terms of life," Morton said. "It just wasn’t there tonight. No life. No life whatsoever."

Burrell hit a second-inning homer and Victorino added a two-run shot in the Phillies’ four-run third. Burrell and Geoff Jenkins had run-scoring singles in the third as the Phillies had six straight hits to knock Morton out of the game before he could record an out in the inning.

Victorino drove in two more runs with a bases-loaded single in the ninth.

Kendrick left after pinch-hitter Greg Norton’s two-run double in the seventh. Norton scored on Mark Teixeira’s groundout later in the inning, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 5-3.

Braves relievers Buddy Carlyle, Manny Acosta and Will Ohman combined for six scoreless innings. Ohman struck out Utley and Howard with the bases loaded in the eighth.

With his 20th homer, Burrell joined Mike Schmidt as the only Phillies with 20 or more homers in eight straight seasons. Schmidt hit at least 20 homers in eight straight seasons (1974-87). Chase Utley (23) and Ryan Howard (20) and Burrell give the Phillies three players with at least 20 homers before the All-Star break for the first time in team history.

Notes: The Phillies agreed to terms with their first-round draft pick, shortstop Anthony Hewitt of Brooklyn. Hewitt, projected as a third baseman, received a bonus of $1.38 million. The Phillies also agreed to pay for four eight semesters of college in the offseason for Hewitt, who signed with Vanderbilt. ... The Phillies will call up left-handed reliever R.J. Swindle from Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. The team sent Brett Myers to Lehigh Valley Tuesday and was without right-handed reliever Clay Condrey, who left the team to be with his wife, who is having a baby. ... Jeff Francoeur ended an 0-for-13 drought with a seventh-inning single.



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