ATLANTA (AP) -- Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel hopes his
team will use Saturday's victory over the Atlanta Braves as a model
for the rest of the season.
The Phillies took the lead and then kept pounding. They topped
off a 12-5 rout of Atlanta with a five-run ninth inning as Jason
Michaels hit a three-run homer to finish with a career-high five
RBI.With wins in the first two games of the three-game series, the
Phillies have their first three-game winning streak since April
16-18."I would like for our team to never be satisfied," Manuel
said. "Three games is good, but of course we'd like a bigger one
that that."Still in last place in the NL East, the Phillies have pulled to
within two games of .500. They have played 30 road games, the most
in the major leagues, but on Tuesday they will begin a stretch of
13 straight at home and 35 of 48 at Citizens Bank Park."We need to take advantage of that," Michaels said. "It's
going to be a big stretch."Pat Burrell was 2-for-4 with three RBI in his return to the
Philadelphia lineup after missing Friday night's game with a sore
left wrist. Placido Polanco had four hits, and added an RBI in a
four-run fourth inning for the Phillies, who will go for the sweep
of the Braves on Sunday."They are getting it together," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox.
"(Jim) Thome is back, and that makes a big difference. It's going
to be a tight race."Thome was 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored.Philadelphia broke it open in the ninth inning on David Bell's
two-run single off Adam Bernero, who walked the bases loaded, and
Michaels' three-run homer against Matt Childers that made it 12-5.
After the game, Childers was designated for assignment.Jon Lieber (6-4) gave up nine hits and five runs, four earned,
in five innings but was backed by the Phillies' 16-hit attack.
Philadelphia gave Lieber leads of 3-1 and 7-3 in the first four
innings.Braves starter Horacio Ramirez (3-5) left with the bases loaded
in the fourth inning.Ramirez struck out Bobby Abreu, the last batter he faced, but
Cox brought in right-hander Kevin Gryboski to face Burrell who
foiled the strategy by lining a two-run single to left field for a
7-3 lead.The Braves cut it to 7-5 off Lieber in the fifth. Back-to-back
doubles by Giles and Chipper Jones scored one run. After a single
by Adam LaRoche, Jones scored when Andruw Jones hit into a double
play.Ramirez gave up nine hits and seven runs -- both season highs --
in 3 2-3 innings. He walked two batters and had two strikeouts in
his first loss in four career starts against Philadelphia."He didn't have his really good stuff," Cox said.Ramirez's ERA rose to 5.65."I don't consider it a setback," he said. "I'm disappointed
we lost, but they're a pretty good team. ... they don't play like a
last-place team. They are really tough to pitch to. They have a lot
of contact hitters. They put the ball in play, and when they do
that, good things happen."The Braves turned double plays to end the second and third
innings, keeping Ramirez in the game.Philadelphia took the lead in the second. Thome walked and moved
to third on Bell's double, and both scored on Michaels' single to
center. The Phillies went ahead 3-1 in the third on three straight
singles by Polanco, Abreu and Burrell.The Braves scored an unearned run in the first when Rafael
Furcal reached on a throwing error by Lieber and came home on a
sacrifice fly by LaRoche.Atlanta tied it 3-3 in the third. Furcal hit an infield single,
stole second and scored on Marcus Giles' double. Giles scored on
another sacrifice fly by LaRoche.
Michaels made a diving catch in center field to rob Furcal
of a hit in the fourth inning. ... Braves C Eddie Perez, on the
15-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis, joined the grounds crew
that dragged the infield between the third and fourth innings.
Perez wore the grounds crew's uniform -- blue shorts and red shirt.
... OF Andruw Jones' third-inning single was his 1,300th career
hit. He is the fourth Atlanta player to reach the milestone. ...
Chipper Jones' fifth-inning double gave him sole possession of
second place on the Braves' career list with 339. He had been tied
with Eddie Mathews.