ATLANTA (AP) The frustration is building for the Atlanta
Certainly, it's a little early to panic, with the season being
only 12 games old. But another galling loss left the Braves
wondering when they'll start to play like a team that has made nine
straight trips to the playoffs.
Omar Daal, baseball's losingest pitcher last season, allowed
only one run in six innings and slumping Pat Burrell hit a
tie-breaking homer to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-1
victory Saturday night.
"Things can only get better," Chipper Jones said after another
anemic performance by the Atlanta offense.
The Phillies have the early lead in the NL East, while Atlanta
has yet to put together a winning streak. It's been 11 years since
the Braves (5-7) went this far without winning two in a row.
"We have nobody to blame but ourselves," Jones said. "We
certainly hate to have the opportunities we've had early in the
season to win three or four ballgames and come out on the short
Daal, coming off a 4-19 season, limited the Braves to six hits
before telling manager Larry Bowa he was tired. Bowa was
appreciative of his starter for admitting that.
"I think that was the key to the whole ballgame, because I had
no intention of taking him out," Bowa said. "I respect the guy
more who tells me the truth."
Wayne Gomes followed Daal with two scoreless innings, then Jose
Mesa finished for his fourth save.
Burrell was an unlikely candidate to come through with the
game-winning hit. He has struck out 20 times in 10 games
including his first two at-bats Saturday and been dropped from
fifth to seventh in the order.
With two outs in the sixth and the score tied at 1, Burrell
hooked a high fastball from Kevin Millwood (0-2) just inside the
left-field foul pole for his first homer of the season.
"I actually jammed him a little bit," Millwood said. "He's a
strong kid. Any time you jam a guy and he hits a home run, you've
got to tip your cap to him."
The main problem for the Braves has been coming through with
runners in scoring position. They went 1-for-9 Saturday, dropping
their season total to 16-of-81 (.198) in those situations.
"We've got so many proven hitters," Jones said. "We've got to
believe it's going to happen at some point."
Wes Helms tripled with one out in the first and couldn't make
the last 90 feet. Andruw Jones lined out to third and Brian
Jordan's long drive was caught on the warning track in center.
The most crushing play came in the fifth. The bases were loaded
after a hit, a walk and an error by Phillies third baseman Scott
Rolen, who let a liner ricochet off his glove.
But Javy Lopez followed with a sharp grounder to second, which
Marlon Anderson quickly turned into an inning-ending double play.
In the ninth, the Braves got a runner to second with one out,
but Mesa struck out pinch-hitter Rico Brogna and Rafael Furcal
ended the game with a groundout.
The Phillies made two errors, but also came through with several
fine defensive plays. Center fielder Doug Glanville appeared to
take a homer away from Helms in the third, snaring a towering drive
at the top of the wall in left-center.
In the eighth, Burrell slammed into the left-field wall while
grabbing a twisting liner hit by Chipper Jones. Then Burrell
finished the inning by throwing out Lopez at second trying to
stretch a single into a double.
Millwood pitched solid, but remained winless in three starts
this year. He went seven innings, allowing both runs on six hits.
"I threw my fastball better than I have in my other starts,"
Millwood said. "I seem to forget that's been a pretty good pitch
The Phillies jumped ahead in the first. With one out, Jimmy
Rollins singled, moved to second on a walk and scored on Rolen's
single to right. Millwood escaped the jam by striking out Travis
Lee with the bases loaded.
The Braves evened it at 1 in the fourth. Jordan led off with a
single and came all the way around to score on B.J. Surhoff's
one-out double to the gap in left-center.
But even that inning epitomized Atlanta's woes with runners on
base. Keith Lockhart's bad-hop single put runners at first and
third, but Millwood struck out and Furcal grounded weakly to
|Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who scored the first run of the game, throws to first to retire Javy Lopez.|
Jeff Nelson, scheduled to umpire behind the plate, got sick
and couldn't work the game. That forced a juggling of the umpire
crew, with Dave Phillips moving in to call pitches and fill-in Matt
Hollowell taking over at second base. ... The Braves started the
1990 season 2-13 before finally winning two in a row.
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