Atlanta (45-51) at Philadelphia (44-50)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 83° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 23, 2006
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Philadelphia starter Brett Myers made a successful return to the mound last weekend—but it came with plenty of distractions.

A day after having his first start at home since his arrest for domestic violence rained out, Myers looks to turn in another strong outing when the Phillies meet the Atlanta Braves Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

Myers (6-3, 3.77 ERA) gave up two runs on two homers—including one from Barry Bonds—in seven innings of last Sunday’s 6-2 win at San Francisco. The start was the first in nearly three weeks for Myers, who was placed on the temporary inactive list after pleading not guilty to assault charges for allegedly hitting his wife.

Myers returned to the team two days before Sunday’s start and issued a brief statement of apology. He worked out with minor leaguers in Class-A Clearwater during his absence.

“I got to go out there and do my job, regardless of situations,” he said last week. “That’s what I’m paid to do, so I had to go out there and give it my all. I have to block it out and throw strikes.”

Myers, who has been in counseling with his wife, pitched in Boston on June 24, one day after the alleged incident. He was booed lustily by Red Sox fans, and while the San Francisco fans greeted him the same way, they weren’t as loud.

“I think he’ll be able to handle it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of the Philadelphia fans’ reaction to Myers. “I want him to do good. I want everything to run smooth and get it behind us. … We’ll find out (Sunday). I think he’ll treat it like an ordinary game.”

Myers is 3-4 with a 4.33 ERA in 13 career starts against the Braves. He has started against Atlanta twice this season, allowing six runs in 12 innings without receiving a decision.

The Phillies (44-50) have won six of nine after taking Friday’s series opener 6-5. Jimmy Rollins had four hits, including a homer, and Chris Coste also connected for Philadelphia.

“This win was huge for many different reasons,” said David Dellucci, who hit a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth. “We’re at home. We’re playing the Braves, and the way we won the game was big. Hopefully, this sets the tone for the homestand. It’s a very important stretch for us.”

David Bell also had four hits, and Chase Utley went 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 22 games.

The Braves (45-51) have lost two straight after a season-high seven-game winning streak. Edgar Renteria, Scott Thorman and Jeff Francoeur all homered Friday for Atlanta, which has scored only eight runs over the last two games after scoring in double digits in the previous five contests.

Chipper Jones went 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to a season-high 20 games, but injured his left side early in Friday night’s game. Andruw Jones has a sore back, and both players are day-to-day.

Chuck James was supposed to start Saturday for the Braves, but the rainout enabled Atlanta to send Horacio Ramirez (5-3, 4.39) to the mound for this contest.

Ramirez won for the third in four starts Monday, allowing one run and two hits over five innings in a 15-3 victory at St. Louis. He was removed for precautionary reasons due to fatigue in his right hamstring after warming up for the sixth inning.

“It’s a concern because it’s nagging, but I don’t think it’ll keep me out,” said the left-hander, who was on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring for nearly two months after being injured in his first start this season.

Ramirez is 3-3 with a 7.07 ERA in seven career appearances against Philadelphia.

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Starting Pitchers

H. Ramírez LAA vs. B. Myers Cle
5-5 Record 12-7
4.48 ERA 3.91
37 K 189
31 BB 63
1.52 WHIP 1.30