Philles foil Hampton's bid, Braves' lead


PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Once the Philadelphia Phillies got a hit off
Mike Hampton, they were ready for any pitcher -- even John Smoltz.

Held hitless into the eighth inning by Hampton, the Phillies
rallied late and Jimmy Rollins' RBI single with one out in the
ninth inning beat Smoltz and the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Thursday.

"It's good to beat Smoltz,'' Rollins said. "That dude is
tough. Today we proved he's human.''

Marlon Byrd looped a single to right field to end Hampton's
no-hit bid after 7 1-3 innings. Placido Polanco's two-run single
tied it off Smoltz, who blew just his second save in 28

Then in the ninth, Pat Burrell opened with a double off Smoltz
(0-1) and, after David Bell flied out, Rollins singled to right on
the first pitch, scoring pinch-runner Jason Michaels.

Jose Mesa (2-4) pitched a scoreless ninth.

"To beat a guy who is untouchable like Smoltz, it's quite a
lift,'' said Turk Wendell, who recorded the final two outs in the
eighth for Philadelphia.

Phillies manager Larry Bowa was ejected with one out in the top
of the ninth for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Terry
Craft. Bowa was tossed after a 1-2 pitch by Mesa on Javy Lopez.

The fiery Bowa stormed out of the dugout, threw his hat down
several times, kept pointing at a corner of the plate and kicked
dirt all over the plate. He was restrained by first-base umpire
Charlie Reliford and Phillies bench coach Gary Varsho.

"I'm tired of hearing every time we play the Braves that their
ball is a strike and ours is just a bit outside,'' Bowa said. "I
respect what they've done. They're a great team. They've earned
their reputation. But we've got pitchers who have been around a
long time, too. Why doesn't Mesa get a pitch?''

After Rollins' hit, Bowa came running out onto the field to join
the celebration as the Phillies, desperately trying to stay in
contention, took two of three from the NL East-leading Braves.

Gary Sheffield hit two solo homers for Atlanta.

After Byrd broke up Hampton's no-hit bid, pinch-hitter Tomas
Perez followed with a line-drive single to right. Smoltz came in
and struck out Bobby Abreu after a wild pitch allowed the runners
to move up. But Polanco poked a 1-2 pitch just over first baseman
Robert Fick's glove, scoring Byrd and pinch-runner Nick Punto to
tie it at 2.

"The whole game changed on that one pitch,'' Smoltz said. "It
was a great win for them.''

Hampton allowed two hits, walked three and struck out five in 7
1-3 innings.

Phillies starter Vicente Padilla gave up two runs and seven hits
in 7 1-3 innings.

Sheffield made it 1-0 in the fourth with a long homer into the
left-center field seats. He poked a shot just inside the left-field
foul pole and barely over the fence for his 21st homer in the
sixth, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead.

Hampton preserved his no-hitter by reaching out to catch a hard
liner by Byrd for the final out in the fifth.

Second baseman Mark DeRosa made a nice play on Abreu for the
first out in the sixth, ranging far to his right, backhanding a
grounder and making a one-hop throw to first. Padilla, who walked
to start the inning and moved to second on a passed ball by Lopez,
went to third on the play.

But Hampton got Polanco on a hard grounder back to the mound and
retired Jim Thome on a fly ball to center to end the inning.

"It's about as bad as it gets,'' Hampton said. "Everything is
great for seven innings and then we lose.''

Padilla pitched seven shutout innings in his last start, a 3-0
victory over Anaheim on June 9. He went one inning in a game that
was rained out in Cincinnati last Sunday.

Hampton, who missed one start after straining his groin against
Texas on June 5, has had consecutive brilliant performances since
returning. He pitched seven innings, allowing just two hits and one
run in a victory at Seattle last Saturday.

Game notes
Sheffield has nine homers and 18 RBI in his last 18 games.
... Fick went 0-for-4, snapping his 11-game hitting streak. ... The
Phillies had been 0-25 in games they trailed after seven innings.
... Smoltz hadn't allowed a run since May 10 against the Giants.