Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Atlanta leads 1-0 (as of 9/26)

Game 1: Friday, September 26
Atlanta6Final
Philadelphia0
Game 2: Saturday, September 27
Atlanta6Final
in 10
Philadelphia7
Game 3: Sunday, September 28
Atlanta5Final
Philadelphia2

Braves 6

(100-60, 45-34 away)

Phillies 0

(85-75, 48-31 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 26, 2003

    Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

    R H E
    ATL - -
    PHI - -

    W: H. Ramirez (12-4)

    L: V. Padilla (14-12)

    Braves close in on home-field advantage in NL

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Horacio Ramirez is making a strong case to start a postseason game.

    Ramirez pitched six sharp innings, and the Atlanta Braves moved closer to clinching home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs Friday with a 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the final night game at Veterans Stadium.

    Atlanta manager Bobby Cox already named Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton and Greg Maddux his starters for the first three games of next week's first-round playoff series against a team from the NL Central.

    Depending on the outcome of the first three games, Ramirez would start Game 4 or Ortiz would take the mound on three days' rest. The way Ramirez is pitching, Cox would feel comfortable giving the rookie left-hander the start.

    "He looked terrific," Cox said. "He moved the ball brilliantly. He's a lot like Tommy Glavine when he first came up."

    The Braves entered the night with a one-game lead over San Francisco for the best record in the NL. The Giants played Los Angeles later Friday night.

    The Phillies, atop the NL wild-card standings a week ago, lost their sixth straight game. They were eliminated from the playoff race Thursday night after being swept by Florida.

    Ramirez (12-4) allowed five hits and no walks. Jaret Wright pitched a perfect seventh, Ray King and Will Cunnane worked the eighth and Kent Mercker got the final three outs to complete the five-hitter.

    Ramirez improved to 4-0 in his last 10 starts. He has lost just twice in his last 26 starts since April 16.

    "It's out of my hands, out of my control," he said of starting Game 4. "Whatever role they want for me, I'll do."

    A sellout crowd of 58,096 came out to the Vet, which is closing after 33 seasons. The Phillies are moving across the street into Citizens Bank Park next season.

    The Phillies had hoped this weekend series would have playoff implications, but a disappointing finish ruined their chances.

    "It was an empty feeling," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "No more scoreboard watching. We don't like that feeling."

    The victory was the 100th of the season for Atlanta, making Cox the second manager ever with six 100-win seasons, joining Joe McCarthy.

    "This manager doesn't do much," Cox said, downplaying the accomplishment.

    Marcus Giles gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead on an opposite-field homer in the sixth. After Vicente Padilla (14-12) retired the first two batters in the inning, Giles hit his first pitch over the right-field wall for his 21st homer.

    Javy Lopez made it 3-0 with a two-run double in the seventh, and a double-play grounder by Vinny Castilla drove in the fourth run. Castilla added an RBI double and Rafael Furcal had an RBI single off Mike Williams in the ninth.

    "We're just trying to play good ball because we don't want to get to Tuesday and have to turn on the switch," Giles said.

    Padilla gave up four runs and seven hits in seven innings. He failed in his second bid to win his 15th game for the second year in a row.

    After Williams allowed two runs in the ninth, some fans began chanting, "We want Mesa!" Jose Mesa, who lost his job as the team's closer this season, has been vilified by the fans for his poor performance. He's 5-7 with a 6.52 ERA and 24 saves in 28 chances.

    Game notes


    Cox tied Casey Stengel for ninth on the career list with 1,905 victories. ... The games on Saturday and Sunday are also sold out. ... Hall of Fame left-hander Steve Carlton changed the number on the right-field wall that signals the number of games remaining at the Vet. ... A fireworks display was held after the game. ... Lopez's 108 RBI are a career high. ... Atlanta has seven shutouts this season. The Phillies were shut out for the 10th time.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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