Phillies 8, Braves 1

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ATLANTA (AP)—Vicente Padilla probably wishes he could make every start against the Atlanta Braves.

Extending his mastery of the NL’s best team, Padilla pitched four-hit ball over seven innings and the Philadelphia Phillies routed the Braves 8-1 Wednesday night.

“I can’t explain it,” said Padilla, who is 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA against the Braves this season. “Maybe it’s just confidence.”

Apparently, he doesn’t have that same confidence against everyone else, going 3-7 with a 4.82 ERA.

“He’s got our number,” said Atlanta’s Vinny Castilla, who went 0-for-3 against the Phillies starter.

Mike Lieberthal drove in three runs for the Phillies, who jumped ahead of Greg Maddux just two pitches into the game.

Maddux (6-7) lasted only five innings, giving up seven hits and six runs— four earned—to surpass his loss total for all of last season.

“I really felt like there was only one pitch I kind of messed up on,” he said. “Sometimes, you just get hit. I felt like I threw halfway decent.”

Padilla beat the Braves twice during a 10-day span in April, including a four-hit shutout at Turner Field. He faced Atlanta again last week, going 7 1-3 innings but not getting a decision in Philadelphia’s 3-2 victory.

That trend continued as he limited the Braves to three singles and Robert Fick’s RBI double. At one point, Padilla retired 14 consecutive hitters.

“He’s not somebody I would enjoy hitting against,” Lieberthal said. “He’s always had his velocity against Atlanta. He’s got a good fastball.”

Maddux was impressed.

“He’s throwing the ball good,” the Braves pitcher said. “He’s got good movement on his fastball. He’s locating well. He’s aggressive. He’s not beating himself.”

Maddux, on the other hand, has been pounded by the Phillies in 2003, dropping to 0-2 with a 7.72 ERA against a team that he dominated before this season.

“I feel comfortable against Maddux,” Lieberthal said, a telling comment about the vulnerability of the four-time Cy Young Award winner.

A year ago, Maddux went 16-6 and ranked second in the National League with a 2.62 ERA. With the latest loss, his ERA climbed to 4.45.

Maddux’s night was epitomized by a sequence with Lieberthal in the fifth. After home plate umpire Chris Guccione called a ball on a pitch near the outside corner, Maddux reacted angrily.

Guccione lifted his mask and stared at the mound after Maddux turned his back. Ahead 3-1 in the count, Lieberthal knocked the next pitch into the right-center gap for a two-run double.

“I didn’t see him staring,” said Maddux, who insisted he wasn’t trying to show up the umpire. “I was cursing that I didn’t get the pitch. I wasn’t cursing at him. There’s a difference.”

Lieberthal drove in another run with a third-inning groundout.

Placido Polanco reached on the first pitch of the game when third baseman Vinny Castilla let a grounder go between his legs for an error. On the next pitch, Jimmy Rollins tripled into the right-field corner to give the Phillies a quick lead.

“That was a tough play,” Castilla said. “I was playing in. It hit my glove and went through.”

Bobby Abreu added a sacrifice fly on what should have been the third out of the inning.

Pat Burrell had an RBI single in the third, and Ricky Ledee hit a massive home run off Trey Hodges in the sixth. The 436-foot drive nearly landed in theChop House restaurant behind the right-field bleachers.

Notes

The Phillies won for the fourth time in five games. … Bobby Cox missed a chance for his 1,500th win as Braves manager. His record in Atlanta slipped to 1,499-1,138. … Javy Lopez (23), Gary Sheffield and Andruw Jones (19) could become the fourth trio in Braves franchise history to each hit 20 home runs before the All-Star break. … Maddux has given up 54 earned runs in 109 1-3 innings. Last season, he surrendered only 58 earned run in 199 1-3 innings. … Before this season, Maddux was 27-14 in his career against thePhillies.

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