Braves 6, Phillies 4
ATLANTA (AP)—Losing repeatedly to his former team hasn’t cost Kevin Millwood sense of humor.
Asked if he ever discusses losing to the Braves when he goes hunting with close friend Chipper Jones, Millwood smiled.
“No,” he said. “I have a gun when I’m hunting.”
Millwood (4-4) wasted a four-run lead and dropped to 0-6 with a 9.10 ERA in six starts against Atlanta, which traded him to Philadelphia for catcher Johnny Estrada on Dec. 20, 2002. Millwood allowed six runs, eight hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings.
“I have no idea what it is,” Millwood said. “I hope somebody figures it out and lets me know soon. It’s frustrating because we had a good chance to win this series, and after the first two innings, we had a real good chance to win this series. That’s what’s frustrating about it.”
Atlanta (28-28) stopped a two-game skid and avoided falling two games under .500 this late in the season since ending 1990 with 97 losses.
Jaret Wright (4-5) won his second straight decision, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings.
“I wanted to keep the game close,” Wright said. “When you’re already out of the game and they put up runs, that’s definitely a good feeling.”
Antonio Alfonseca, Kevin Gryboski and Chris Reitsma combined to pitch 2 2-3 scoreless innings before John Smoltz entered with Jim Thome on first and two outs in the eighth. Smoltz, who ended the inning by getting Chase Utley to ground into a forceout, finished for his eighth save in nine chances.
“I didn’t think I was going to be in this one for a save,” Smoltz said. “We played ourselves out of it, then we came back to win it.”
Thome hit a three-run homer for the Phillies, who have lost six of nine.
Millwood retired seven straight and led 4-0 when Andruw Jones singled to begin the fifth.
DeWayne Wise reached on a bunt single and took second on third baseman Tomas Perez’s throwing error. Utley, backing up first baseman Jim Thome, tried to throw out Jones at third but instead bounced the ball past catcher Mike Lieberthal for an error as Wise came around.
Nick Green hit an RBI single and Drew’s 12th homer, an opposite-field drive to left, gave the Braves a 5-4 lead.
“That was a big situation,” Drew said. “I was trying to square up and hit it hard, and it went out of the park.”
After a walk and a single, Andruw Jones chased Millwood with his second single of the inning, which gave Atlanta a two-run lead.
“I don’t care about me versus the Braves,” Millwood said. “That’s your gig. It’s the Phillies against another team. It’s not me against the Braves. Any time they put runs on the board early for you it lets you get a little comfortable but I thought I was throwing the ball well up until the fifth. Then I made some bad pitches.”
Jones is hitting .438 with 17 RBIs in 16 career at-bats against Millwood.
“He’s leaving balls out over the plate,” Jones said. “The times that I don’t miss, I’m putting them in play.”
Chipper Jones popped up as a pinch-hitter for Wright in the fifth.
Thome’s 14th homer and Mike Lieberthal’s solo shot in the second builtPhiladelphia’s lead.
SS Jimmy Rollins went 3-for-4. … Green made a nice over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right for the second out of the eighth. … Phillies closer Billy Wagner struck out two, allowed one hit and topped 97 mph three times during a one-inning rehabilitation assignment Sunday for Double-A Reading. Wagner is likely to be activated before Tuesday. … Philadelphia 2B Placido Polanco came off the DL after the game. RHP Josh Hancock was sent to Triple-AScranton/Wilkes-Barre make room on the roster.