Milton wins fifth; Dodgers lose 6th in row

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Even with their slugger sidelined and their
closer on the disabled list, the Philadelphia Phillies are finally
alone in first place.

Pat Burrell hit a two-run homer and Marlon Byrd had three RBI
to lead the Phillies over Los Angeles 9-4 Wednesday night, the
Dodgers' sixth straight loss.

Eric Milton allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings
and improved to 5-0. Philadelphia won for the ninth time in 12
games and moved ahead of Florida for the NL East lead.

"It's nice to be on top. We deserve it," Burrell said.

The Phillies, picked by many to win the division, have overcome
a 1-6 start, and are 16-8 since being swept by the Marlins from
April 20-22.

"Our goal was to try and win each series," Phillies manager
Larry Bowa said.

The Phillies played without first baseman Jim Thome, who sat out
with sprained ligaments in his right index finger. Thome hopes to
return Friday night. All-Star closer Billy Wagner (groin) could
return next Tuesday.

Hideo Nomo (3-5) left with one out and a runner on third in the
second inning after he split the nail on his right index finger. A
16-game winner last season, Nomo is 3-5 with a 7.13 ERA and could
lose his spot in the rotation.

Brian Falkenborg relieved Nomo and allowed eight runs and eight
hits in 3 2/3 innings. The Dodgers' skid followed a 22-10 start.

"We're in a little rut right now," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy
said. "We just have to keep playing hard and get ourselves out of

After Cesar Izturis' three-run homer cut it to 6-3 in the
fourth, Burrell hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the inning --
his third homer in two games and ninth this season.

Philadelphia, which has won its last six home games against the
Dodgers, went ahead 6-0 with a five-run third inning. David Bell
started it with a two-run double, Shawn Wooten drove in a run with
a fielder's choice grounder and Byrd capped the scoring with a
two-run single.

Milton ran into trouble in the fourth when he walked Falkenborg
with two outs. Izturis then hit an 0-2 pitch into the left-field
seats to cut the lead in half.

Chase Utley's RBI single off Falkenborg scored Bell, who led off
with a double, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the second.

Milton, acquired from Minnesota in the offseason, hasn't pitched
more than six innings in any of his eight starts but has received
excellent run support. The Phillies have scored 50 runs in his
starts, an average of 6.3 per outing.

"When you pitch without your best stuff and get wins, it's a
plus," Milton said. "I'm still looking for improvement."

Game notes
Phillies C Mike Lieberthal took a pitch from Falkenborg off
the side of his helmet in the third inning, but wasn't hurt. ...
Phillies RF Bobby Abreu has hit safely and scored a run in eight
straight games. ... Burrell has hit safely and scored a run in six
in a row. He made an outstanding, diving catch in left field to end
the eighth. ... RF Juan Encarnacion was back in the lineup after
not starting the last four games because of left shoulder
tendinitis. He went 0-for-3 against Milton, and is 3-for-29 against
the left-hander.