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