Rolen, the subject of incessant trade speculation, homered
Sunday and Vicente Padilla won for the first time in more than a
month, carrying the Phillies to a 7-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
"I have a job to do,'' Rolen said. "Once I'm at this ballpark,
I'm prepared to play nine innings.'' The Braves lost two of three games during the weekend at Turner
Field -- their first series loss since May 7-9 against Los Angeles. Atlanta won 18 series and split four others before Philadelphia
snapped the undefeated streak, which fell just two short of the
record 24 in a row shared by three other teams. "It would have been great to keep it going,'' said Tom Glavine,
who took the loss. "But I don't think it's realistic to believe we
could go the rest of the season without losing a series. There's
some good teams out there.'' Rolen homered leading off the second against Glavine (13-6),
while Doug Glanville provided the go-ahead run with another solo
homer to start the third. Rolen, who is eligible for free agency after the season and says
he won't return to the Phillies, has been part of intense talks as
Wednesday's trade deadline approaches. The All-Star third baseman said Saturday he would consider
signing a long-term deal if he was traded to St. Louis. In a sign
of the Cardinals interest, vice president Bob Gebhard scouted Rolen
from a seat directly behind home plate. "You've got to give him credit,'' said Philadelphia manager
Larry Bowa, who has had a tempestuous relationship with Rolen.
"He's been going through a lot. He puts it on the backburner for
nine innings, then it all starts up again.'' Rolen, booed at home and criticized by some teammates, conceded
that he's doing a better job dealing with all the trade talk. "I had a lot more trouble with it in May than I have this
month,'' he said. "Maybe I learned from that. Just go out and
prepare to do the best job I can.'' Padilla (11-6) had gone five starts and more than a month since
his last victory at Florida on June 24. On a sweltering day, he
gave up just five hits and a run in six innings. Padilla also walked three and hit two batters, but he escaped a
couple of major jams. The Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the first before
Vinny Castilla grounded out. Padilla caught a break in the sixth
when Javy Lopez's liner down the right-field line bounced over the
wall for a ground-rule double, holding runner Andruw Jones at
third. Keith Lockhart struck out swinging to end the threat. Bowa said his pitcher wasn't 100 percent.
"His arm was loose the first three innings, but he was stiff.
It's his back,'' Bowa said. "He did a good job competing and
playing in adverse conditions.'' Jimmy Rollins had three RBI for the Phillies. In the seventh, Philadelphia broke open a 2-1 game when two runs
scored on Rollins' two-out bunt single. The speedy shortstop pushed
the bunt toward first baseman Matt Franco, who flipped to Glavine
covering the bag. But the pitcher was late getting over and missed Rollins with a
swipe of the glove. During the split-second that Glavine looked
toward the umpire, hoping to get the call, Jason Michaels raced
home with another run. "Glavine is not an everyday first baseman,'' Rollins said. "I
put him in position where he had to make a move. I'd still rather
swing. But if (bunting) will help us win, I'll take it from
there.'' Glavine hesitated because he thought Franco was going to make
the play by himself. "It was just some miscommunication between me and Matt,''
Glavine said. "Jimmy Rollins is so fast that if you slow down for
a second, he's got you beat. After that, it was pretty much over.'' Bobby Abreu followed with an RBI single that knocked out
Glavine, who gave up eight hits and walked four in 6 2/3 innings. Rollins added a two-run double in the ninth.
Another streak ended for the Braves: Gary Sheffield failed
to reach base, snapping his team-record stretch of 52 games in a
row. ... Andruw Jones had a scary moment in the first when
Padilla's rising fastball grazed the hitter's face. Jones rubbed at
his lip and cheek as he was checked out by assistant trainer Jeff
Porter, but stayed in the game. ... Three umpires worked the game.
Crew chief Mark Hirschbeck took the day off after being forced to
leave Saturday's game because of an illness that worsened in the
sweltering heat. ... The record of 24 straight series without a
loss was set by the 1912 Boston Red Sox and equaled by the
Cincinnati Reds in '70 and New York Yankees in '98. ... Glavine
threw 131 pitches on a day when the temperature climbed to more
than 100 degrees on the field. ... The Phillies have gone nine
straight series on the road without a loss.