• Turning Point: Brian McCann hit a homer off closer Tom Gordon to tie the game at 2-2 in the ninth inning.
• Hero: Thorman's solo homer in the 11th inning followed the same script as Edgar Renteria's long ball winner in the 10th on Monday.
• Unsung hero: Braves' closer Bob Wickman pitched a scoreless 11th to seal the deal.
-- ESPN.com news services
Braves 3, Phillies 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A strong outing by the starting pitcher.
Another late-inning rally against a beleaguered bullpen. Two
comeback wins in two games for the Atlanta Braves.
"It was great to help our pitchers out," Thorman said.
"They've been unbelievable and gave us a chance to win both
Entering the season, the Phillies' main weakness was their
bullpen. So far, the relievers have been ineffective.
Gordon had 34 saves in 39 chances and went to the All-Star game
in his first season with the Phillies, but was bothered by a sore
shoulder and faltered down the stretch. Jeff Francoeur started the ninth with a double to center. McCann then hit a liner into the right-field seats.
"Our hitting is going to pick up and we're going to win some
games," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
The Phillies wasted an outstanding effort by Cole Hamels, who pitched seven scoreless innings. Coming off an impressive rookie
season, Hamels struggled in spring training. The left-hander allowed nine homers in only 20 2-3 innings while posting a 6.10 ERA.
But Hamels was sharp in his first outing that counted. He
allowed just four hits, struck out eight and outdueled Tim Hudson
on a blustery night.
"You're not going to get any better pitched games than these
two," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Myers and [John] Smoltz
then these two guys."
Hudson had allowed just three runners -- two walks and one hit
batter _ before Carlos Ruiz hit a solo homer with two outs in the
fifth. Ruiz, bothered by a biceps injury late last month, drove a
1-1 pitch into the left-field seats for his fourth career homer in
his 71st at-bat.
The Phillies added an insurance run in the eighth on Shane
Victorino's RBI double off Mike Gonzalez. Jimmy Rollins walked with one out, stole second base and advanced to third on catcher
McCann's throwing error. Victorino followed with a liner into the
left-field corner to score Rollins. He was caught trying to steal
third, a costly mistake because Howard walked and Chase Utley
Howard was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay throw from
second baseman Kelly Johnson to end the eighth after Utley's
"Terrible. Bad play," Manuel said of Victorino's steal
attempt. "He said it won't happen again."
Hudson gave up just one run and two hits in seven innings. The
Phillies had six hits overall.
Howard, who hit three homers off Hudson in a game last
September, was 0-for-2 with a walk against the veteran
Phillies 3B Wes Helms made a throwing error on a grounder
by Matt Diaz in the second inning. Helms started just five games at
third base for Florida last year before the Phillies signed him to
be the regular third baseman. ... Fans continued to boo Pat Burrell
each time he made an out. They cheered after he singled in the