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Howard's 3-run homer powers Phillies past Braves

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[July 03, 2008]  ATLANTA, Ga. (AP) -- Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer, Pat Burrell added his second homer of the series and the Philadelphia Phillies survived a ninth-inning scare to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3 on Wednesday night.

InsuranceThe Phillies improved to 5-0 in Atlanta this season and 7-1 overall in the season series.

The Braves (40-45) fell a season-worst five games under .500 with their second straight loss in the series, despite homers from Chipper Jones and Ruben Gotay.

Jones, playing his second game after missing eight straight starts with a strained right quadriceps, hit his 17th homer off J.C. Romero in the eighth, cutting the Phillies' lead to 5-3.

The Phillies answered with two runs in the ninth. Jimmy Rollins' triple drove in Eric Bruntlett, and Chase Utley added a run-scoring single.


Burrell hit a homer Tuesday night to give the Phillies three players with 20 or more homers before the All-Star break for the first time in team history. Burrell added his 21st homer in the fifth inning Wednesday night after Howard's three-run shot, also his 21st, gave the Phillies a 4-0 lead in the third.

The Braves loaded the bases against Brad Lidge in the ninth on one hit and two fielding errors by Howard at first base.

Pinch-hitter Greg Norton hit a one-out single, moved to second when Howard couldn't snag Gregor Blanco's sharp grounder for an error. With two outs, Howard couldn't handle a grounder from Jones for his second error, loading the bases.

Lidge struck out Mark Teixeira to end the game.


The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the second on back-to-back doubles to left by Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste. Rollins led off the third with a single and stole second. Jorge Campillo walked Utley, setting up Howard's homer to left-center.

Utley tops the Phillies' 20-homer club with 23.

Adam Eaton (3-6) matched his season high with five walks but gave up only five hits and two runs in five innings for his first win in five starts.

Campillo (3-3) gave up a season-high five runs on eight hits, including two homers, in five innings. He walked two with no strikeouts.

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Gotay, hitting for Campillo, led off the fifth inning with his second homer.

The Braves loaded the bases against Eaton with no outs in the sixth. Teixeira led off with a double. Brian McCann walked and Kelly Johnson singled to right, knocking Eaton out of the game.

Slumping Jeff Francoeur, who struck out in each of his first two at-bats, hit a double-play grounder off reliever Chad Durbin to drive in Teixeira. Durbin struck out Mark Kotsay to end the inning, stranding McCann on third base.

Francoeur added a third strikeout with a runner on second in the eighth to drop his batting average to .236.


Notes: RHP Brett Myers, making his first minor league start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, gave up five hits and three runs in five innings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday night. He walked two and struck out six while throwing 100 pitches one day after he agreed to the minor league assignment. ... RHP Clay Condrey, who missed the first two games of the series to be with his wife while she delivered a baby, plans to return to the Phillies on Thursday. ... Gotay's homer was the first of his career as a pinch-hitter.

[Associated Press; By CHARLES ODUM]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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