PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia Phillies have been rallying
for some thrilling wins lately.
The Phillies' last three victories have come in their final
at-bat, including Thursday's 3-2 triumph against Atlanta when they
beat closer John Smoltz.
"It's getting exciting around here,'' Jim Thome said. "This
was probably one of the best games I've ever played in, with the
way it went back and forth all day. This was a lot of fun.
"Wins like these are what builds confidence in a team.''
Nomar Garciaparra tied a club record with six hits for the Red
Sox, who blew three late leads.
Thome hit a pair of game-tying homers, and Bobby Abreu also went
deep for the Phillies.
An RBI double by Todd Walker -- who also homered twice -- and
Garciaparra's sixth single of the day gave Boston a 5-3 lead in the
"You could feel the momentum begin to build at that point,''
said Gary Varsho, who managed the Phillies while Larry Bowa served
a one-game suspension. "They grinded out some big at-bats all
game, especially in the last inning. We had the perfect guy in the
perfect situation for us.''
That was Pratt -- the last of Philadelphia's players off the
Rudy Seanez (0-1) relieved, and Pratt sent a 1-0 pitch over the
center-field wall for his first home run since Sept. 1 last season.
He raised and pumped his fist when the ball cleared the fence, then
stumbled and nearly fell between first and second base.
"My lips may have been moving but I wasn't talking to it, I
knew I hit it hard,'' Pratt said.
It was reminiscent of Pratt's home run that won the 1999 NL
division series for the New York Mets against the Arizona
Diamondbacks at Shea Stadium.
"I tried to give him a fastball away and I missed,'' Seanez
said. "It makes it hard. You score a couple, but then they come
right back and you lose. That's real tough.''
Jose Mesa (3-4) got the win despite allowing three runs and five
hits in two innings.
Pedro Martinez pitched seven sharp innings and left with a 2-1
lead, but the Boston bullpen had another major meltdown.
"We've seen it before,'' manager Grady Little said. "Sometimes
it works out for us, sometimes it doesn't. But that was one of the
toughest I've ever seen right there.''
Garciaparra finished 6-for-6 with a walk. His drive off the
right-center wall made it 5-3 in the 13th, but he stumbled rounding
first and settled for another single.
He became the fourth Red Sox player to get six hits in a game,
joining Jimmy Piersall (1953), Pete Runnels (1960) and current
Boston broadcaster Jerry Remy (1981).
"I'm not thinking about the 6-for-6. I'm not a stat guy. We
lost,'' Garciaparra said.
Thome connected on a 3-2 pitch from Shiell with two outs in the
bottom half to tie it again.
Boston's bullpen wasted a strong outing by Martinez, the fourth
time in 12 starts Red Sox relievers have failed to hold a lead for
"We made some bad pitches to the wrong people at the wrong
times,'' Little said.
Thome tied it at 2 with a 437-foot homer to right off Mike Timlin in the eighth, his 16th of the season.
Martinez looked sharp for seven innings -- his longest outing
since a complete-game victory on May 3. He allowed four hits,
struck out seven and walked two.
"Pedro was outstanding, he's coming along just fine,'' Little
The no-decision was Martinez's third straight since being
activated from the disabled list June 11 with a strained muscle in
his back. On strict pitch counts in his previous two outings, he
was limited to eight total innings.
Walker accounted for Boston's offense early with a pair of solo
homers off Randy Wolf.
The Red Sox had plenty of opportunities to blow it open but left
eight runners stranded in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings
Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the second on Abreu's 11th homer
of the season.
Wolf allowed two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Little said he's not worried about any lingering effects from
the tough loss.
"This ballclub is too resilient,'' he said. "There's too good
a character on this team to let that happen. We'll come right
Boston's Manny Ramirez went 0-for-7. ... Thome has 351
career homers. ... Bowa's suspension was for a bench-clearing brawl
with Cincinnati on June 13. ... Walker has three career two-homer