NL East Roundup

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Atlanta 3, Philadelphia 2 (11 innings)
A strong outing by the starting pitcher. Another late-inning rally against a beleaguered bullpen. Two comeback wins in two games for the Atlanta Braves.

Scott Thorman's solo homer in the 11th inning led Atlanta to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.

Brian McCann's two-run homer off closer Tom Gordon tied it at 2 in the ninth. Thorman then connected against Ryan Madson (0-2) with one out in the 11th.

"It was great to help our pitchers out," Thorman said. "They've been unbelievable and gave us a chance to win both games."

In Monday's season opener, Edgar Renteria hit a tying solo homer off starter Brett Myers in the eighth inning, and his two-run shot off Madson in the 10th gave the Braves a 5-3 win.

Macay McBride (1-0) threw one pitch, retiring Ryan Howard on a grounder to second base to leave the winning run at third in the 10th. Bob Wickman pitched a scoreless 11th for the save.

Entering the season, the Phillies' main weakness was their bullpen. So far, the relievers have been ineffective.

Gordon had 34 saves in 39 chances and went to the All-Star game in his first season with the Phillies, but was bothered by a sore shoulder and faltered down the stretch. Jeff Francoeur started the ninth with a double to center. McCann then hit a liner into the right-field seats.

"Our hitting is going to pick up and we're going to win some games," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

The Phillies wasted an outstanding effort by Cole Hamels, who pitched seven scoreless innings. Coming off an impressive rookie season, Hamels struggled in spring training. The left-hander allowed nine homers in only 20 2-3 innings while posting a 6.10 ERA.

But Hamels was sharp in his first outing that counted. He allowed just four hits, struck out eight and outdueled Tim Hudson on a blustery night.

"You're not going to get any better pitched games than these two," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Myers and [John] Smoltz then these two guys."

Hudson had allowed just three runners -- two walks and one hit batter _ before Carlos Ruiz hit a solo homer with two outs in the fifth. Ruiz, bothered by a biceps injury late last month, drove a 1-1 pitch into the left-field seats for his fourth career homer in his 71st at-bat.

The Phillies added an insurance run in the eighth on Shane Victorino's RBI double off Mike Gonzalez. Jimmy Rollins walked with one out, stole second base and advanced to third on catcher McCann's throwing error. Victorino followed with a liner into the left-field corner to score Rollins. He was caught trying to steal third, a costly mistake because Howard walked and Chase Utley doubled.

Howard was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay throw from second baseman Kelly Johnson to end the eighth after Utley's double.

"Terrible. Bad play," Manuel said of Victorino's steal attempt. "He said it won't happen again."

Hudson gave up just one run and two hits in seven innings. The Phillies had six hits overall.

Howard, who hit three homers off Hudson in a game last September, was 0-for-2 with a walk against the veteran right-hander.

N.Y. Mets 10, St. Louis 0
John Maine and two relievers combined on a two-hitter and Carlos Beltran homered twice and drove in four as the New York Mets ripped the St. Louis Cardinals 10-0.

Jose Reyes also homered and had three RBIs for the Mets, who outscored the Cards 20-2 in a three-game sweep.

Maine allowed one hit over seven innings, striking out six and walking two.

Braden Looper took the loss in his first major league start after 572 relief appearances. He was touched for three runs on eight hits over six innings.

Ambiorix Burgos pitched the eighth and Aaron Sele got the final three outs.

The Mets have opened a season 3-and-0 for the first time since 1994. It's the first time since 1969 the Cardinals have lost three straight at home to start the season.

Washington 7, Florida 6
The Washington Nationals came from behind and rode a ninth inning rally to a 7-6 win over Florida.

Dmitri Young's bases-loaded single with one out completed the comeback with the third run of the inning. Marlins leftfielder Josh Willingham let Young's arching fly ball drop just inside the the foul line.

Jon Rauch faced two batters in the ninth and got the win.

Jorge Julio gave up the three runs in the ninth to take the loss.

Miguel Cabrera, Mike Jacobs and Cody Ross homered for the Marlins in the loss.


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