PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Kevin Millwood didn't have much luck against
his old teammates.
Russ Ortiz pitched six shutout innings and Robert Fick had three
RBIs, leading the Atlanta Braves over Millwood and the Philadelphia
Phillies 6-1 Wednesday night. Gary Sheffield added a two-run homer for the Braves, who
improved the NL's best record to 46-23. Facing his former team for the first time, Millwood (8-5)
allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. It was his fourth
loss in his last five starts, and he's given up 12 runs and 19 hits
in his last two outings. Tom Glavine, who signed with the New York Mets after 16 seasons
with the Braves, also lost his first start against his former team.
He gave up six runs and eight hits in a 10-4 loss on May 24. Ortiz (8-4) allowed four hits, struck out three and walked three
for his first win in four starts. "It was just like when we faced Tommy," Braves manager Bobby
Cox said. "You hope it's a 1-0 game and you win." Fick gave the Braves a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run
single. Millwood retired the first two batters, before Sheffield
and Chipper Jones hit singles. Andruw Jones walked to load the
bases, and Fick hit a single down the first-base line. Fick had another two-out RBI single in the third to make it 3-0.
After Javy Lopez walked, Vinny Castilla's RBI single put the Braves
ahead 4-0. Sheffield hit his 19th homer off Carlos Silva for a 6-0
lead in the sixth. "He's one of the best pitchers in the game. Maybe he was too
pumped up," Fick said. Millwood said it was "a little strange" facing his old
friends. "Once I got out there, it wasn't a big deal," he said. Phillies manager Larry Bowa thought Millwood was trying too hard
to beat the Braves. "I'm sure, but I don't know if he'll admit it," Bowa said. Millwood was traded to the Phillies for minor league catcher
Johnny Estrada in a cost-cutting move last December. The
right-hander signed a one-year, $9.9 million contract with the
Phillies after earning $4.1 million in Atlanta last season. Millwood often was overshadowed by Atlanta's Cy Young trio of
Greg Maddux, Glavine and John Smoltz during his tenure with the
Braves. But he was Atlanta's best pitcher last season, going 16-3
in his final 25 starts. Since pitching his first no-hitter against San Francisco on
April 27, Millwood is 4-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 10 starts. "It was business as usual kind of like it was against
Glavine," Chipper Jones said. "I tried not to think of it being
Kevin out there and concentrate just like any other pitcher." The Phillies' best threat off Ortiz came in the first. Bobby
Abreu led off with a single and Placido Polanco walked. But Jim
Thome grounded into a double play and Pat Burrell struck out to end
the inning. Polanco had an RBI single off Trey Hodges in the eighth to make
it 6-1. But Chipper Jones threw out Abreu at the plate on a single
by Burrell to prevent a potential rally. "My ball was moving great," Ortiz said. "I felt I had great
stuff. I didn't have great control. I didn't want to give in. I
Ortiz, pitching for the Giants, beat Millwood in the
decisive fifth game of last year's NL divisional playoffs. Ortiz is
7-2 with a 3.20 ERA in his last 11 starts. ... Burrell had two hits
for the second straight game, raising his average to .208. ...
Thome was 1-for-4, including two strikeouts and stranded four
runners. He's hitting .246. ... Fick has an 11-game hitting streak.
... Sheffield has seven homers and 16 RBIs in his last 16 games.