Phillies rough up Smoltz with four-run first

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jim Thome is beginning to feel good.

Thome hit a three-run homer off John Smoltz in a four-run first
inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies went on to a 5-1 victory over
Atlanta that ended the Braves' eight-game home winning streak.

Thome went 3-for-4 in Philadelphia's last game, an 8-5 win over
Florida on Wednesday.

"The three hits the other night may have set the table," Thome
said. "It gets your confidence back. The main thing is just to get
into a groove, get my timing back. Obviously, the home run with
guys on is big. That's why you hit in the middle of the order."

It was only the second home run of the season for Thome. The
slugging first baseman, who had 42 homers last season and 47 in
2003, came off the disabled list on Saturday after missing 19 games
with a lower back strain.

"His power is still there. It hasn't gone anywhere," Phillies
manager Charlie Manuel said.

Thome's only other home run came on April 21 in a 6-3 victory
over Colorado. He is on a pace to hit fewer than 10 home runs for
the season.

"I hope not," a smiling Thome said. "Home runs come in
bunches. You don't try to hit them, but when they come, they come
in bunches.

"The main thing is just getting into a groove, get my timing
back, get into a rhythm. I'm getting it back, something I've been
working hard at," said Thome, a career .284 hitter with 425 home

Thome was 1-for-13 in his first four games after returning from
the DL. He was 1-for-4 Friday, struck out twice after his 412-foot
homer, and is hitting .210 this season.

"He's a threat no matter if he's hitting .200 or .300," Smoltz

Phillies starter Cory Lidle (5-3), who pitched a complete game
in his previous start, went 6 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits, one
run, walked two and struck out seven.

Philadelphia is 6-1 in Lidle's last seven starts.

The four runs off Smoltz (3-4) quickly ended a 19-inning
scoreless streak by Atlanta pitchers that included 4-0 and 3-0 wins
in the last two games of a three-game series sweep of the New York

Smoltz gave up four straight hits to open the game. Jimmy
Rollins led off with a single, took third on a single by Placido
Polanco and scored on another single by Bobby Abreu. Thome then hit
his towering drive over the center field wall for a 4-0 lead.

"Abreu set the whole thing up," Smoltz said. "I hadn't given
up a home run since the third game of the year. That [facing Thome]
was the last thing I thought about."

The Braves scored off Lidle in the opening inning on consecutive
doubles by Rafael Furcal and Marcus Giles.

Smoltz then held Philadelphia scoreless before leaving after six
innings. He allowed eight hits, walked four and struck out six.

Smoltz, who lost his first three starts, was 3-0 in his last
seven outings and had not lost since April 16, a 2-1 loss to the

Game notes
Thome's homer in the first off Smoltz ended a 47-inning
homerless streak by the Atlanta righty. ... Smoltz had six
strikeouts for 2,453 in his career, tying Sam McDowell for No. 31
on the all-time strikeout list. ... Furcal, who went 3-for-4, stole
two bases to tie Houston's Willy Taveras for the NL lead at 16. ...
Philadelphia outfielder Pat Burrell did not start, resting a sore
left wrist he injured against Baltimore last weekend.