Offense and Padilla Combine To Beat Braves 8-1

The Atlanta Braves aren't big fans of Vicente Padilla. Half of Padilla's wins this season have come against the Braves now as he beat Atlanta for the third time this year with an 8-1 win Wednesday night in Atlanta. In addition to Padilla's seven strong innings, the Phillies offense showed its face, hitting Greg Maddux around like he was a rookie with little major league future.

Vicente Padilla (6-7) has been unable to recapture his form from last season, except when he pitches against the Atlanta Braves. Padilla pitched seven strong innings for his third win against Atlanta in as many starts this season. Mike Lieberthal drove in three runs as the Phils routed Greg Maddux (6-7) and the Braves, 8-1.

Struggling this year after posting a 14-11 record in 2002, Padilla allowed one run and four hits and lowered his season ERA against the Braves to 1.48. Padilla is now 5-2 lifetime against Atlanta.

"Padilla has been pitching good for us, not just against the Braves," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "Any time you shut down a team with that offense, you've done well."

Lieberthal, who owns a career .370 average (50-135) at Turner Field, plated a run with a groundout in the third inning to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead before adding a two-run double in the fifth.

Maddux turned in his shortest outing since May 30, yielding six runs - four earned - and seven hits in five innings to go along with one walk and four strikeouts. Maddux is now 0-2 in three starts against the Phillies.

Bobby Abreu collected three hits and scored three runs for the Phillies, who evened the three-game series after taking two of three from the Braves in Philadelphia last week. The Phillies, who have won four of their last five games, scored twice in the first inning to grab an early lead.

Placido Polanco opened the game with a smash that Atlanta third baseman Vinny Castilla couldn't handle and scored on Jimmy Rollins' triple to right field. After Maddux struck out Jim Thome, Abreu lifted a sacrifice fly to left that scored Rollins and put the Phillies up 2-0.

Phillie killer Robert Fick cut the Phillies lead to one with an RBI double in the second, but the Phils added two runs in the third to take a 4-1 lead. Thome ripped a one-out double to right-center and moved to third on a single by Abreu, who then stole second. Pat Burrell stroked a single to right to score Thome, and Lieberthal followed with a groundout that brought Abreu home.

Lieberthal ripped a two-out, two-run double to deep right-center on a 3-1 offering in the fifth to give the Phillies a 6-1 cushion. The two-base hit followed a questionable ball call by plate umpire Chris Guccione that Maddux felt was a strike.

Ricky Ledee crushed Trey Hodges' first pitch of the sixth inning into the right field stands for his sixth homer of the season and David Bell added an RBI single in the seventh to cap the scoring.


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