Phillies Offense Comes Alive To Down Brewers 11-4

One day after Larry Bowa seemingly challenged the Phillies offense, they put up 11 runs and beat Milwaukee 11-4 Wednesday night. Jim Thome homered twice and Bobby Abreu finished the night 3-for-3 for the Phillies. The Florida Marlins also won, keeping the Phillies 1/2 game behind the Marlins in the NL wild card race.

Jim Thome recorded his fourth multi-homer game of the season and Kevin Millwood tossed seven effective innings as the Phils routed the Milwaukee Brewers, 11-4.

Thome stretched his record of consecutive seasons with 30 or more homeruns to eight with his two homerun performance. "It's nice," Thome said. "This season's been a marathon. When you do your work, stay consistent, not panic and have good at-bats, I think that's what happened."

With the Phillies already ahead, 1-0, in the first inning, Thome belted a three-run shot off Milwaukee starter Ben Sheets. He added a solo blast in the eighth off Mike DeJean for his 30th career multi-home game.

Millwood (12-8) gained the victory, allowing just his second homerun at Veterans Stadium this season, a three-run blast by Keith Ginter in the fourth inning. Millwood allowed three runs and six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

"I knew we needed this game, no doubt about it," said Millwood, whose team had lost five of its last six. "To lose tonight would've been pretty bad for our team, so I knew going in we needed a big win. Whether it's 11-4 or 2-0, we had to find a way to win tonight. ... I think the biggest thing is we got a lead early."

Sheets (10-10) suffered his third straight loss, surrendering 10 runs - eight earned - and 12 hits in five-plus innings.

Millwood escaped a jam in the top of the first, getting Richie Sexson to ground into an inning-ending double play with two on. Philadelphia then gave the right-hander a four-run lead in the bottom half. Marlon Byrd led off with a single and Placido Polanco was hit by a pitch. Bobby Abreu singled to center to plate Byrd, and Thome followed by depositing Sheets' first offering over the right-center field wall.

The Brewers cut the deficit to a run with a two-out rally in the fourth. Sexson and John Vander Wal stroked back-to-back singles before Ginter lifted a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence for his ninth homer. "I made three good pitches to (Ginter) and the fourth one, I didn't get in like I wanted to, and he hit it out," Millwood said. "Guys that play in this league are here for a reason. They're not here because they (stink), so you make mistakes and they're gonna get hit."

The Phils staged a two-out rally of its own in the fifth to increase the lead. With runners on first and second, Mike Lieberthal, Pat Burrell and Tyler Houston hit consecutive RBI singles to give the Phillies a 7-3 cushion.

Sheets saw his night come to an end after failing to retire any of the first three batters in the sixth. Byrd opened the frame by reaching on an error by third baseman Ginter and Polanco doubled. Abreu followed with a two-base hit to plate both runners. Brooks Kieschnick came on and loaded the bases by intentionally walking Thome and hitting Lieberthal with a pitch. He then induced a double play grounder by Burrell, allowing Abreu to score for a 10-3 bulge.

Milwaukee got back a run in the eighth on an RBI single by Eric Young, but Thome capped the scoring with a solo blast in the bottom of the inning.

"I think our offense stepped up," Thome said. "We had a big game offensively. I think guys really focused, came out tonight and I think it was that sense of urgency that, 'Hey, we got to win this ballgame, especially after last night.'"

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