<
>

Furcal swats two 3-run HRs in loss

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Tomas Perez came to a sudden stop after
rounding first base, turned toward the bench and prepared himself
for a celebratory mugging from his teammates.

The Philadelphia Phillies are getting used to comeback
victories, and the heroes are paying the price with jabs, slaps and
shaving-cream pies in their faces.

Perez's pinch-hit RBI single in the 10th inning helped the
Phillies overcome a five-run deficit and two three-run homers by
Rafael Furcal to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6 Friday night.

Chase Utley hit a solo homer off John Smoltz with one out in the
ninth to tie it at 6, and Mike Lieberthal had four RBI, including
a three-run homer in the eighth.

"It's great to come back and win the game, especially against
one of the best closers," Perez said.

As for the beating, "I'll take it because some day they'll be
getting it from me," he said.

Billy Wagner (3-0) got two outs in the 10th for his second win
in two nights.

The NL East-leading Phillies have leads of two games over the
Mets and three over the Braves, who have won 12 consecutive
division titles.

Playing because regular second baseman Placido Polanco had the
night off, Utley reached down and hit a low pitch from Smoltz into
the Phillies' bullpen in right-center field, giving him seven
homers and 30 RBI in just 131 at-bats.

It was Smoltz's second blown save in 17 chances.

"I didn't throw a bad pitch and I blew a save," Smoltz said.
"I could tell him it's coming 19 more times and he wouldn't hit
it."

Ricky Ledee led off the 10th with a single off Antonio Alfonseca
(5-3). After David Bell hit into a fielder's choice, Lieberthal
walked. Perez then lined a single down the right-field line,
scoring Bell.

Furcal finished 3-for-5 with a career-high six RBI for the
Braves, who had won four straight.

Starting pitcher John Thomson allowed two runs and seven hits in
6 2/3 innings, and Chris Reitsma gave up Lieberthal's homer in the
eighth.

Phillies manager Larry Bowa was ejected in the third after
Furcal's first homer gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead.

With two runners on, Furcal hit a long fly off Eric Milton down
the left-field line that was ruled fair by third-base umpire Gerry
Davis. Left fielder Pat Burrell, holding his hat in his hand,
immediately rushed toward the infield while Bowa came out to argue
the call and fans chanted "Foul ball!"

The umpires conferred, but the homer stood. Television replays
showed the ball hooked foul. After a brief argument, Bowa returned
to the dugout. He was ejected by plate umpire Bruce Dreckman after
the next batter lined out to third base.

"It was so far foul, it was sickening," the fiery Bowa said,
still upset more than three hours after the play. "I don't expect
them to get it right 100 percent, but that was blatant."

Furcal came up with two runners on again in the fifth and hit a
drive into the left-center field seats for his ninth homer, giving
the Braves a 6-1 lead. During the at-bat, Furcal fouled a pitch
behind first base, drawing sarcastic "home run" chants from the
sellout crowd of 44,180.

Furcal was 0-for-11 against Milton before connecting in the
third inning.

Milton gave up six runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings, failing
to tie Texas' Kenny Rogers for the major league lead with 12 wins.

Reitsma retired the first two batters in the eighth before Ledee
walked and Bell singled. Lieberthal then hit the first pitch just
over the left-center field wall.

Jim Thome almost hit his major league-leading 29th homer in the
fifth. With two runners on, Thome lofted a high fly down the
left-field line that curled foul nearly in the same spot Furcal's
questionable homer landed. Fans booed loudly as Davis made an
emphatic foul call. Thome struck out looking to end the inning.

Game notes
Bowa has been ejected four times this year, and 21 times in
four seasons as Philadelphia's manager. ... Furcal's previous
career best in RBI was four against Cincinnati on April 2, 2001.
His other multihomer game was against the Reds on May 28, 2003. ...
The Phillies have 24 sellouts in 46 games at their new stadium. ...
Milton hasn't pitched more than seven innings in any of his 18
starts. ... All-Star C Johnny Estrada, traded from the Phillies for
Kevin Millwood in December 2002, went 3-for-4.