Perez tied the game with an RBI double in the eighth inning and
won it with a homer in the 10th, leading the Philadelphia Phillies
over the short-handed Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Friday night.
Upon reaching the plate, Perez was first mobbed by teammates,
then received a shaving-cream facial during a post-game interview.
"Today, I have to enjoy this, because it doesn't happen a lot
of times to me," Perez said. "But anytime you come to the
stadium, you have to be ready to play."
It was a fitting ending for Perez, who tended to manager Larry
Bowa's daughter, Victoria, when she was involved in a car accident
before Thursday's game, then delivered the news to the manager.
"That home run I give to my wife, my family and Bowa's
daughter," Perez said.
Perez wasn't the only Phillie to produce in another's absence.
Chase Utley, starting for injured second baseman Placido
Polanco, singled off Chris Reitsma with one out in the eighth to
extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Perez followed with a double
down the right-field line, scoring Utley and tying the game at 2.
"They know what their role is and they work hard," Bowa said
of his reserves. "To see them get rewarded is nice."
Philadelphia's Randy Wolf, who missed his last start because of
elbow tendinitis, allowed six hits and one earned run, walked two
and struck out four in six innings.
Bowa said Wolf felt fine after leaving the game.
"Tomorrow we'll have a better idea," Bowa cautioned.
Dewayne Wise homered for Atlanta, which lost three players to
injuries. The Braves scratched first baseman Julio Franco minutes
before the game due to back problems, then lost outfielder Chipper
Jones and Franco's replacement, Adam LaRoche.
"The hits just keep on coming," Jones said. "We can't seem to
get on a roll."
Jones was hit above the left knee with a pitch and didn't return
to the field in the bottom of first. LaRoche was injured an inning
later in a collision with Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal. He was
later taken to the hospital for X-rays that revealed a separated
"I don't think LaRoche can play for a while," Braves manager
Bobby Cox said.
LaRoche came to the plate in the second inning with no outs and
runners on first and second and hit a grounder to Perez.
Perez bobbled the ball as he attempted to start a double play,
then flipped to Wolf, who anticipated a throw to second and wasn't
looking. The ball rolled to the dugout, allowing Johnny Estrada to
score the first run of the game.
Wise, who replaced Jones, hit his second homer to right field on
a 1-0 pitch in the third inning to make it 2-0.
Braves starter Mike Hampton went 6 2-3 innings, allowing seven
hits and one earned run. He walked three and struck out five. After
compiling a 7.41 ERA in his first seven starts, Hampton has allowed
only three runs in his last three outings.
"We're going to battle," said Hampton. "Hopefully, we can get
some guys healthy."
The Phillies had runners at second and third in both the fourth
and sixth innings, but Hampton got out of both jams, twice retiring
Utley to end the threats.
But when Philadelphia loaded the bases with two outs in the
seventh, Hampton was pulled in favor of Kevin Gryboski. He walked
Pat Burrell to force in a run, then got David Bell to fly out to
end the inning.
Gryboski's walk ended Hampton's scoreless streak at 14 innings.
Thome missed his sixth game in the last two weeks after
receiving treatment on his sore index finger earlier in the day.
The only action Thome saw Friday was putting on his batting
gloves in the 10th as a decoy pinch-hitter. His bat, however, got a
lengthy workout in Perez's hands.
Perez used Thome's bat -- one much larger than his own -- for the
seventh straight game.
"(Thome) came to me and said, 'That bat has a lot of pop in
it," said Perez. "He was right. The bat he uses is
^Notes:@ Backup C Eddie Perez replaced LaRoche, marking the first
time since June 20, 1999, that Perez played first base. ... Braves
SS Rafael Furcal made a spectacular diving stop on a grounder by
Burrell to start an inning-ending double play in the first.
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