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Braves hammer Phillies

Atlanta gains ground in playoff race

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Posted: September 25, 2007 11:05 p.m.
Updated: October 10, 2007 5:00 a.m.
   PHILADELPHIA — Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer and Chipper Jones had a two-run shot, helping the Atlanta Braves keep their slim playoff hopes alive with a 10-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
    The Phillies entered two games behind the NL East-leading Mets and tied with San Diego for the wild-card lead, but missed an opportunity to put pressure on the Padres. San Diego played at San Francisco later.
    Jimmy Rollins hit a solo homer to become the second player in team history with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in the same season. Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Chase Utley also connected for the Phillies (85-72).
    Atlanta (83-74) needs to keep winning and get some help to reach the playoffs after a one-year absence. The Braves won an unprecedented 14 straight division titles, before missing out last season.
    Pat Burrell’s sacrifice fly off Jeff Bennett (2-0) gave the Phillies their first lead, 5-4 in the fifth. But Atlanta answered quickly against Jamie Moyer (13-12) in the sixth. Jeff Francoeur doubled to start the inning and Andruw Jones followed with an RBI single to tie it.
    Moyer pitched to one more batter, retiring Brian McCann on a bouncer to the mound. Geoff Geary entered and Matt Diaz lined his first pitch for an RBI single to give the Braves a 6-5 lead. After Yunel Escobar doubled with two outs, Edgar Renteria hit a two-run single to make it 8-5.
    Utley’s solo homer off Manny Acosta in the seventh cut it to 8-6. Chipper Jones connected off Tom Gordon in the ninth for insurance runs.
    Desperate to see their Phillies end a 14-year playoff drought, a crowd of 39,129 cheered wildly and frantically waved white-and-red ‘‘Fightin’ Phils’’ towels. But they left disappointed.
    Moyer gave up six runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. The 44-year-old left-hander has one win in five starts this month, though he pitched well in his previous two outings.
    Braves starter Chuck James didn’t fare any better. He allowed four runs and three hits — all homers — in 3 2-3 innings. Bennett gave up one run in 1 1-3 innings.
    After Rollins hit a leadoff homer, James cruised until the fourth. He retired 10 straight, striking out five, before running into trouble.
    The left-hander walked Burrell on four pitches and fell behind Howard 2-0, prompting a visit from pitching coach Roger McDowell. Whatever he said didn’t help.
    Howard hit the next pitch over the Phillies’ bullpen in center field for his 43rd homer. With two outs, Werth went deep to tie it at 4.
    Moyer got in trouble right from the start. Escobar led off with a double and Renteria walked. Moyer got Chipper Jones to pop out to first, but Teixeira hit a drive high off the brick batter’s eye in center field to make it 3-0. Moyer nearly struck out Teixeira looking on two close pitches that painted both corners.
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