Braves Handle Millwood As Phils Fall 6-1

After retiring the first two batters with little difficulty, Kevin Millwood struggled in his first outing against his former team. The Braves got to Millwood for four earned runs in five innings as the Phillies ace saw his record fall to 8-5 on the season. Meanwhile, the Phillies couldn't figure out Braves starter Russ Ortiz, who wasn't exactly breezing along, but held the Phillies down long enough to get the win.

Kevin Millwood (8-5) was outdueled by Russ Ortiz (8-4)and Robert Fick knocked in three runs as the Braves cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Phillies Wednesday night at The Vet.

Millwood struggled in his first appearance against his former team, allowing two of his four runs in the first inning. He went five innings and gave up eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts en route to losing for the fourth time in his last five starts.

"It was a little strange," Millwood said. "But once I got on the mound, it wasn't that big of a deal." Phillies manager Larry Bowa thought Millwood may have been too motivated against his old team. "I'm sure he was," Bowa said. "You have to feel something different. Millwood had good stuff, but early he was overthrowing. Tonight, he was pitching behind a lot."

Ortiz (8-4) endured no such problems as he surrendered four hits in six scoreless innings. He walked three and struck out three in winning for the first time in four starts.

Fick gave Ortiz an early lead, delivering a two-run single in the first and an RBI single in the third.

Millwood struck out Rafael Furcal to start the game and retired Marcus Giles on a grounder to third base. But Gary Sheffield and Chipper Jones singled before Andruw Jones walked to load the bases. Fick then grounded a single past diving first baseman Jim Thome to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. Millwood, averted further trouble by striking out Javy Lopez.

In the bottom of the inning, the Phillies put their first two batters on, but Ortiz got Thome to bounce into a double play and struck out Pat Burrell.

After Millwood pitched out of trouble in the second, he again found himself in trouble in the third. Sheffield drew a leadoff walk and stole second two outs later. Fick delivered another single to score Sheffield and after Lopez walked, Vinny Castilla stroked an RBI single to make it 4-0.

Fick has torched Philadelphia pitching this season, batting .550 (11-for-20) with one homer and four RBI.

Ortiz worked around two walks in the bottom of the inning and he also pitched out of trouble in the fourth when the Phillies stranded a pair of runners.

With Millwood out of the game, Sheffield hit a two-run homer off Carlos Silva in the sixth, extending the lead to 6-0. It was Sheffield's 19th homer of the season.

Placido Polanco accounted for the Phillies' only run with an RBI single in the eighth.

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