Phillies 7, Braves 6, 10 innings

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Tomas Perez came to a sudden stop after rounding first base, turned toward the bench and prepared himself for a celebratory mugging from his teammates.

The Philadelphia Phillies are getting used to comeback victories, and the heroes are paying the price with jabs, slaps and shaving-cream pies in their faces.

Perez’s pinch-hit RBI single in the 10th inning helped the Phillies overcome a five-run deficit and two three-run homers by Rafael Furcal to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6 Friday night.

Chase Utley hit a solo homer off John Smoltz with one out in the ninth to tie it at 6, and Mike Lieberthal had four RBIs, including a three-run homer in the eighth.

“It’s great to come back and win the game, especially against one of the best closers,” Perez said.

As for the beating, “I’ll take it because some day they’ll be getting it from me,” he said.

Billy Wagner (3-0) got two outs in the 10th for his second win in two nights.

The NL East-leading Phillies have leads of two games over the Mets and three over the Braves, who have won 12 consecutive division titles.

Playing because regular second baseman Placido Polanco had the night off, Utley reached down and hit a low pitch from Smoltz into the Phillies’ bullpen in right-center field, giving him seven homers and 30 RBIs in just 131 at-bats.

It was Smoltz’s second blown save in 17 chances.

“I didn’t throw a bad pitch and I blew a save,” Smoltz said. “I could tell him it’s coming 19 more times and he wouldn’t hit it.”

Ricky Ledee led off the 10th with a single off Antonio Alfonseca (5-3). After David Bell hit into a fielder’s choice, Lieberthal walked. Perez then lined a single down the right-field line, scoring Bell.

Furcal finished 3-for-5 with a career-high six RBIs for the Braves, who had won four straight.

Starting pitcher John Thomson allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, and Chris Reitsma gave up Lieberthal’s homer in the eighth.

Phillies manager Larry Bowa was ejected in the third after Furcal’s first homer gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead.

With two runners on, Furcal hit a long fly off Eric Milton down the left-field line that was ruled fair by third-base umpire Gerry Davis. Left fielder Pat Burrell, holding his hat in his hand, immediately rushed toward the infield while Bowa came out to argue the call and fans chanted “Foul ball!”

The umpires conferred, but the homer stood. Television replays showed the ball hooked foul. After a brief argument, Bowa returned to the dugout. He was ejected by plate umpire Bruce Dreckman after the next batter lined out to third base.

“It was so far foul, it was sickening,” the fiery Bowa said, still upset more than three hours after the play. “I don’t expect them to get it right 100 percent, but that was blatant.”

Furcal came up with two runners on again in the fifth and hit a drive into the left-center field seats for his ninth homer, giving the Braves a 6-1 lead. During the at-bat, Furcal fouled a pitch behind first base, drawing sarcastic “home run” chants from the sellout crowd of 44,180.

Furcal was 0-for-11 against Milton before connecting in the third inning.

Milton gave up six runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings, failing to tie Texas’ Kenny Rogers for the major league lead with 12 wins.

Reitsma retired the first two batters in the eighth before Ledee walked and Bell singled. Lieberthal then hit the first pitch just over the left-center field wall.

Jim Thome almost hit his major league-leading 29th homer in the fifth. With two runners on, Thome lofted a high fly down the left-field line that curled foul nearly in the same spot Furcal’s questionable homer landed. Fans booed loudly as Davis made an emphatic foul call. Thome struck out looking to end theinning.

Notes

Bowa has been ejected four times this year, and 21 times in four seasons as Philadelphia’s manager. … Furcal’s previous career best in RBIs was four against Cincinnati on April 2, 2001. His other multihomer game was against the Reds on May 28, 2003. … The Phillies have 24 sellouts in 46 games at their new stadium. … Milton hasn’t pitched more than seven innings in any of his 18 starts. … All-Star C Johnny Estrada, traded from the Phillies forKevin Millwood in December 2002, went 3-for-4.

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