Phillies 6, Braves 3

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Philadelphia Phillies needed a good start, and Brett Myers delivered.

After getting hit hard in his previous two starts, the right-hander took a shutout into the ninth inning, and the slumping Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 6-3 Saturday.

Pat Burrell and David Bell homered for the Phillies, who won for just the third time in 13 games.

Myers (6-4) allowed three runs and four hits in 8 1-3 innings. He struck out nine, including seven looking, in his first win since June 4.

“He had a gem going. That’s what we needed,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He had real good command of his breaking ball and his fastball.”

Atlanta’s Adam LaRoche singled in the second, but Myers retired the next 20 batters before Wilson Betemit singled to center leading off the ninth.

Pinch-hitter Julio Franco followed with another single, and Rafael Furcal drew the only walk off Myers to load the bases. Myers lost his shutout bid with a wild pitch, and after Kelly Johnson struck out, Marcus Giles doubled in two runs to chase Myers.

Billy Wagner got the final two outs for his 20th save in 22 chances.

In his previous two starts, Myers was roughed up for 13 runs and 18 hits in just 7 1-3 innings. The poor stretch may have cost Myers, who was among the NL leaders with an ERA that hovered under 2.20 all season, an All-Star invitation.

Myers said the solution in this start was simple.

“Throwing strike one,” he said. “It gives you many more options on what you can do from there when you get ahead of the hitter.”

Myers followed the plan perfectly. He threw just eight first-pitch balls, and 72 of his 106 pitches were for strikes.

“He got ahead of everybody,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “That’s one of the best jobs against us all year. He was absolutely dynamite.”

Myers even had some fun with Manuel, who threatened to take him out of the game in the sixth inning if he didn’t get a hit.

“He said he would choke me if I took him out of the game at that point,” Manuel said. “He really wanted the shutout, that was easy to tell.”

Burrell gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead with a homer to left-center field off starter Horacio Ramirez (7-5) in the second inning. It was his 17th home run of the season.

Bell connected for a three-run shot, his fifth, to chase Ramirez in the fifth inning as Philadelphia opened a 6-0 lead.

Ramirez, who had won his previous four decisions, allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. Five of the six runs came with two outs. Ramirez walked three and struck out one.

“The last two games were the best of the year for me,” Ramirez said. “I wanted to keep my team in the game, but I wasn’t able to do that.”

Philadelphia took a 2-0 lead in the third when Jimmy Rollins drew a two-out walk, stole second and scored on Jason Michaels’ RBI single.

Myers, who was mired in a 1-for-27 slump, had a two-out RBI single in the fourth to make the score 3-0.

Notes

Burrell leads the major leagues with 22 RBIs against left-handers. He had just 17 RBIs against lefties in 2004. … Both Atlanta (44-37) and Philadelphia (41-40) have reach the halfway point in the season. … Franco is 8-for-21 (.381) as a pinch-hitter this season.

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