The Phillies scored three times in the first and blew it open with a seven-run second. A night earlier, they jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Braves in the opening inning, only to get shut out the rest of the way in a 6-4 loss.
“You never know how many runs will be enough against them,” Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa said. “I thought the four runs last night would stand up, but it didn’t. You never have enough runs against that team.”
Philadelphia has won seven of eight to keep pace with Florida, which beat the New York Mets 3-1 on Tuesday.
Atlanta’s magic number for clinching its 12th straight division title remains at nine.
“This is one of those games you have to put behind you,” said Atlanta’s Mark DeRosa, who homered for the second night in a row. “Stuff happens. I don’t think it’s the first time it’s happened this season. But we have to regroup and move on.”
The Braves, who still own the majors’ best record, had won four of five prior to Tuesday’s drubbing.
STANDINGS: Phillies - 2nd place (tied), 11 GB, NL East. Braves - 1st place, NL East.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Vicente Padilla (13-9, 3.62 ERA). Padilla is one win shy of tying his career best, established last season. He allowed just six hits and struck out 10 while shutting out the Mets 1-0 on Friday. The right-hander has pitched well in his career against the Braves, going 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 10 appearances, including nine starts.
BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Horacio Ramirez (9-4, 4.17 ERA). The left-hander allowed two runs—one earned—and three hits over nine innings in the Braves’ 3-2, 10-inning win over the Pirates on Friday. He is making his first career start against the Phillies.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .324 avg.; Jim Thome, 39 HRs, 109 RBIs and 96 runs; Bobby Abreu, 20 SBs. Braves - Gary Sheffield, .335 avg. and 116 RBIs; Javy Lopez, 38 HRs; Sheffield and Rafael Furcal, 117 runs; Furcal, 25 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 8-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - Right-handed batters are hitting .233 against RHP Padilla this season. … 3B Travis Chapman made his major league debut for Philadelphia in the seventh inning Tuesday, flying out as a pinch-hitter. … After going 8-8 with a 3.81 ERA in the first half of the season, RHP Padilla is 5-1 with a 3.29 ERA since the All-Star break. Braves - SS Furcal is hitting just .160 (4-for-25) in his career against Padilla. … LHP Ramirez is 3-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 11 starts at home this season. … OF Sheffield is hitting .433 (13-for-30) with three home runs and five RBIs in his career against Padilla.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 35-38 on the road; Braves - 50-23 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - 3B David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP Terry Adams (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 60-day DL. Braves - OF Damon Hollins (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kevin Gryboski (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Holmes (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP John Smoltz (elbow), 15-day DL.
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