ATLANTA (AP) -- Randy Wolf just wanted to survive the first
inning. After 40 pitches, he felt like a punch-drunk fighter.
"That was dumb luck," he said. "It was one of those innings
when you look back and wonder why they didn't score."
Wolf pitched six strong innings and Jim Thome and Mike
Lieberthal homered as the Philadelphia Phillies won their second
straight series against Atlanta, beating the Braves 8-1 Thursday
Wolf (9-3) allowed three hits and one run, striking out five. He
improved to 4-0 in five starts this month and 6-1 in his last 10
The left-hander didn't escape the first until he struck out Javy
Lopez on an inside fastball with the bases loaded. Wolf had
struggled in the past with the Braves. He was just 2-7 with a 4.35
ERA in 12 career appearances against Atlanta.
"Luckily, I was able to make a pitch on Javy," Wolf said.
"That was a tough spot because I didn't want to get in a situation
with the bases loaded where I had to give him something to hit.
He's their hottest hitter, pretty much. To me, that was the biggest
pitch of the night."
Philadelphia, which moved into a second-place tie with Montreal
in the NL East, cut Atlanta's lead to 7 1-2 games by beating the
Braves 8-1 for the second straight night.
Thome's 18th homer, an opposite-field solo shot to left off
reliever Jung Bong, gave the Phillies a 6-1 lead in the sixth.
Lieberthal's fifth homer, a two-run shot off Kevin Gryboski, ended
the scoring in the eighth.
hits. The Phillies, who finished with 15 hits, had won just two of
their last 11 series in Atlanta.
"If we swing the bats the way we're capable, we'll win some
baseball games," manager Larry Bowa said. "When you get eight
hits from our seven and eight hitters, it's going to make it
Mike Hampton (3-4) allowed eight hits and five runs -- four
earned -- in five innings. The left-hander, who held the Phillies
hitless through 7 1-3 innings in a no-decision June 19 at Veterans
Stadium, struck out six and walked three.
Wolf held the Braves hitless through 3 2-3 innings before Julio
Franco's RBI double cut the lead to 4-1. Wolf struck out Hampton
with runners on first and third to end the fourth.
Wolf took a hard liner by Chipper Jones off his left leg in the
sixth. Terry Adams relieved to start the seventh,
Shoddy fielding hurt Atlanta. The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in
throwing error and scored from third on Javy Lopez's passed ball.
Philadelphia went ahead 4-0 in the fourth on Wolf's RBI grounder
and run-scoring singles by Rollins and David Bell.
Furcal fielded Wolf's grounder and set his feet to throw to
first before changing his mind and trying to get Tomas Perez at the
plate. His throw was late and too far to Lopez's left.
Hampton prevented worse damage in the fourth with a double play
that included a strikeout of Jim Thome and a rundown that caught
Rollins trying to steal home.
Lieberthal made it 5-1 in the fifth, leading off with a double
and later scoring on Hampton's wild pitch.
"Our offense is really starting to hit," Lieberthal said.
"They key is our offense. Our pitching is as good as anybody's."Game notes
Bowa decided to keep 2B Placido Polanco out of the lineup
despite his career .455 average (15-for-33) against Hampton. ...
The Braves dropped to 15-16 against the NL East. They're 34-11
outside the division. ... The Braves fell to 14-3 against
left-handers this year.
- Home Plate Umpire - Larry Vanover
- First Base Umpire - Dan Iassogna
- Second Base Umpire - Gary Darling
- Third Base Umpire - Chris Guccione