Phillies 5, Braves 4
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—David Bell had the big hit he’s been waiting for.
The third baseman, mired in a season-long slump, singled in pinch-runner Nick Punto in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
Jimmy Rollins went 4 for 4 with two RBIs for the Phillies, who have won two of their last three games.
“I was just looking for a strike to hit and concentrating on hitting the ball to the outfield,” said Bell, who went 1-for-4 to lift his batting average to .207. “Hopefully, this will be the start of a run for us.”
Turk Wendell (1-1) pitched two shutout innings to earn his first win in two years and his first for Philadelphia. After being acquired from the Mets in July 2001, he went 0-2 before missing the entire 2002 season because of an elbow injury.
Mike Lieberthal led off the ninth with a single off Darren Holmes, and Punto was sent in to run. Rollins followed with a dribbler in front of the plate. Holmes handled the grounder but threw wildly to first base.
Punto, a rookie, had stopped at second when he lost sight of the ball that caromed into foul territory down the right field line. Despite the blunder, Punto advanced to third, and Rollins went to second.
“He lost sight of the ball,” Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa said. “He’s a young player and you have to pick up the coach on that play. I know (third base coach John Vukovich) was yelling at him.”
Bell, who was in a 5-for-51 slump, hammered the first pitch he saw from Holmes (1-1) into deep left-center field for the game-winning hit.
Bowa thinks Bell is close to breaking out of his slump.
“There are a lot of guys in this lineup that are capable of big things,” he said. “They’ve been trying very hard and things will turn around for them.”
Aside from his offensive contributions, Rollins turned in two diving stops to deny Atlanta runs.
“Jimmy continues to do an outstanding job defensively at shortstop, he makes all the plays and more,” Bowa said.
Wendell and Terry Adams held Atlanta to just one hit in the final 3 1-3 innings.
Atlanta rallied from a three-run deficit to take a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning off starter Brett Myers.
After Robert Fick doubled, consecutive walks loaded the bases. Myers then threw a wild pitch to pinch-hitter Matt Franco that scored the go-ahead run. Myers reloaded the bases with a walk, but Adams got Rafael Furcal on an inning-ending groundout.
The Phillies tied it 4-4 in its sixth on Lieberthal’s sacrifice fly off Trey Hodges.
Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on catcher Javy Lopez’s throwing error.
The Phillies loaded the bases with two singles and a one-out walk, but starter Shane Reynolds appeared to get out of the jam when he got Myers to hit a grounder to first baseman Robert Fick.
Fick fired home to Lopez to record the second out. Lopez’s return throw to Reynolds at first base hit Myers in the left shoulder and caromed into right field, allowing Rollins to score.
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox argued with home plate umpire Marty Foster, claiming that Myers ran inside the baseline.
Philadelphia chased Reynolds in the fourth when Rollins hit a two-run double. Jung Bong pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam to keep the score 3-0.
Cox was ejected in the fourth by first-base umpire Fieldin Culbreth, who overruled Foster on a foul-tipped third strike.
Cox was also upset about a 3-0 pitch to Rafael Furcal with the bases loaded that was called a strike. Furcal later grounded out to end the inning.
“The 3-0 pitch was the game,” Cox said. “I thought that was a ball years ago.”
Myers allowed four runs on seven hits, walked four and struck out three.Reynolds surrendered three runs on nine hits in four-plus innings.
Atlanta homered for the first time in four games. The Braves haven’t gone homerless in any four-game stretch this season. … Cox has been ejected six times this season. … Bell is hitless against Reynolds in 16 career at-bats. … Hodges threw a wild pitch on an intentional walk to Rollins in thesixth. … Wendell hasn’t allowed a run in his last nine innings.