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Phillies hold on vs. Braves, win fourth in row

7/26/2002

ATLANTA (AP) -- The latest Philadelphia victory went down to the
last pitch, but that's nothing new to manager Larry Bowa.

Gary Sheffield grounded out with the bases loaded to end the
game, and the Phillies held off the Atlanta Braves 3-2 Friday
night.

"I'm getting used to it,'' Bowa said. "They've all been
exciting for us lately.''

The Phillies, playing a night game for the first time in a week,
won their fourth straight. It's their longest streak since June
7-10, when they also won four in a row during interleague play.

The Braves lost for only the second time in 10 games and still
have the best record in the majors at 66-37.

"It was just one of those days,'' Sheffield said. "We just
have to put it in our memory bank and come back and win the
series.''

Earlier, he singled to extend his team-record on-base streak to
51 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the longest streak
since 1975 was Mark McGwire's 62-gamer in 1995-96.

But after the Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth
inning against Jose Mesa, Sheffield hit an easy grounder. Mesa held
on for his 28th save in 34 chances.

"He's struggling right now, but you've got to take the good
with the bad,'' Bowa said.

Randy Wolf gave up four hits in 6 1/3 innings and Jimmy Rollins
hit a two-run homer to help Philadelphia.

Wolf (6-7) retired the first seven batters before allowing an
infield single to Henry Blanco in the third.

"I've been feeling pretty confident for a while,'' Wolf said.
"I'm getting ahead of guys. But it's always a battle against them.
With their pitching and their bullpen, it's tough to give up a
couple of runs.''

Rollins hit his eighth homer in the third off Kevin Millwood
(9-5), giving Philadelphia a 3-0 lead. Millwood lost for the first
time in 13 starts, dating back to a 5-2 loss to Colorado on May 18.
He had won seven straight decisions since then, including his past
five starts.

"I didn't feel like I made a whole lot of good pitches,''
Millwood said. "I threw a lot of balls right down the middle. I
was battling the whole time out there.''

Atlanta closed to 3-2 in the seventh, chasing Wolf in the
process. Vinny Castilla and Wes Helms had singles to start the
inning, and Blanco sacrificed. Wolf walked pinch-hitter Julio
Franco to load the bases before leaving in favor of left-hander
Hector Mercado.

Rafael Furcal then hit a dribbler back at Mercado, who threw to
first to get Furcal instead of throwing home to force out Castilla.
But Mark DeRosa grounded out to end the threat.

Bowa said catcher Mike Lieberthal yelled for Mercado to throw it
home, but the message was drowned out by the crowd.

"You can't hear anything out there,'' Bowa said. "Maybe in our
stadium, but not here.''

Phillies reliever David Coggin pitched to just two batters in
the eighth, walking Sheffield and Chipper Jones. Terry Adams came
in and got Andruw Jones to ground into a double play, and after
Lieberthal made a great stop on an errant 2-1 pitch with Sheffield
on third, Castilla popped out to end the inning.

"We're playing OK right now,'' Wolf said. "We're turning it
around.''

Atlanta got on the board in the fifth, when Andruw Jones scored
on a sacrifice fly by Blanco.

The Phillies went ahead 1-0 in the second on a RBI groundout by
Marlon Anderson, who brought home Jeremy Giambi.

Game notes
San Diego's Ryan Klesko had a 56-game on-base streak
earlier this year. ... Heavy rain canceled batting practice for
both teams, although the weather cleared up nicely. The temperature
at the start of the game was a cool 72 degrees, a rarity for late
July in Atlanta. ... In the sixth, Philadelphia 3B Scott Rolen hit
a grounder that scooted under the glove of DeRosa at second base
for an error. Rolen, hustling all the way, tried to make it to
second but was thrown out by center fielder Andruw Jones.