Philadelphia 8, Atlanta 1

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

night.

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

outings.

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.

Tomas Perez and Marlon Byrd each set career highs with four

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

easier."

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

the first when Jimmy Rollins reached on shortstop Rafael Furcal's

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.