Series: Game 1 of 4

Philadelphia leads 1-0 (as of 9/12)

Game 1: Monday, September 12
Game 2: Tuesday, September 13
Game 3: Wednesday, September 14
Game 4: Thursday, September 15

Braves 1

(83-61, 35-37 away)

Phillies 4

(76-68, 43-32 home)

7:05 PM ET, September 12, 2005

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

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ATL 000000010 1 5 1
PHI 00202000 - 4 8 1

W: E. Brito (1-0)

L: T. Hudson (12-8)

S: B. Wagner (33)

Brito holds Brafves to three hits through six

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The pressure of the pennant chase hardly fazed Philadelphia rookie Eude Brito.

NL wild-card standings
Team W L Pct. GB
Marlins 77 67 .535 --
Astros 76 67 .531 ½
Phillies 76 68 .528 1
Nationals 73 71 .507 4

Brito tossed three-hit ball over six shutout innings in his third career start, keeping the Philadelphia Phillies in the hunt for the NL wild card with a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.

"I just got my mind ready to go, make quality pitches and get people out," Brito said, the remnants of a shaving cream pie stuck in his hair and shirt.

Pat Burrell had three hits and two RBI, Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to 18 games and three relievers allowed one run over three innings for the Phillies. With Florida's 8-2 win over Houston, the Phillies are third in the wild-card race, a half-game behind the Astros and one game back of the Marlins.

Philadelphia moved seven games behind NL East-leading Atlanta with three more games left in the series. Braves third baseman Chipper Jones came out in the sixth with a strained left quadriceps.

Getting the spot start because Vicente Padilla is out with a strained ribcage, Brito (1-0) gave the Phillies more than they could have hoped for. Mixing a fastball in the low 90s with the occasional changeup, Brito breezed through the early innings, retiring the first 11 batters until walking Jones in the fourth.

Brito didn't allow a hit until Brian Jordan's two-out single in the fifth. Brito, who pitched a combined nine innings in two other starts, struck out seven and got the last batter of the first, second, third and fifth innings to whiff.

"They trust me right now," Brito said. "I believe in myself too that I can pitch. I'm trying to give my best to the team winning. We are in the race right now, close to the wild card. We think we can make the playoffs. If they give me the ball, it's because they believe in me."

Brito gave the Phillies plenty of reason to believe. He never seemed intimidated by a Braves' lineup that's scored the third most runs in the league. Of his 84 pitches, 54 were strikes -- and he walked only one.

"He kept his cool. He was facing big hitters and he did the job," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Ryan Madson pitched the seventh, Ugueth Urbina allowed pinch-hitter Todd Hollandsworth's homer in the eighth, and Billy Wagner worked the ninth for his 33rd save in 36 chances.

Tim Hudson (12-8) gave up four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in six innings for the Braves.

With the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles down in Atlanta to open their season, only about 15,000 fans were in their seats for the first pitch. The announced crowd of 21,169 was the smallest at home for the Phillies this season.

"We have good fans here, it's just a matter of proving to them that we can win," Manuel said.

What the fans who stayed home or in a saloon missed was a suddenly scrappy Phillies team that has won three of four and refused to fade from the wild-card race after the Astros swept them last week.

Burrell has led the charge.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the third, he singled for a 2-0 lead. With a pair of four-RBI games against Florida last weekend, Burrell now has 10 RBI in the last four games.

The Phillies caught a break in the fifth when second baseman Marcus Giles, with chew puffing his left cheek to the size of a baseball, muffed a sure double-play grounder, allowing a run to score. They made it 4-0 when Ryan Howard reached on a fielder's choice.

"That's how baseball is," Hudson said. "It's one of those games where I didn't pitch good enough and we didn't hit good enough. The young guy over there did a great job."

Brito got into his lone jam in the sixth, but pitched out of it with the poise of a veteran. With two on, one out and Jones up, Brito coaxed an inning-ending double play. Jones slowed down pretty quickly, and that's when he appeared to strain his quadriceps.

The poise in that situation -- with Andruw Jones on deck -- left Manuel impressed and made him "feel certain" that Brito will get another start or two.

"I think we can use him here," Manuel said with a wink.

Game notes

Jones went 0-for-2 with a walk and was day-to-day. ... Burrell was thrown out by LF Jordan trying to stretch a single in the second inning. ... Atlanta 1B Adam LaRoche was not in the starting lineup a day after Washington's Nick Johnson hit a hard shot that bounced off the side of his head. ... Brito singled in the third inning for his first big league hit. ... If a tiebreaker game is necessary in the NL wild-card race, Philadelphia would host Houston and Florida, and the Nationals would host the Phillies and Marlins.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press