Polanco's bases-loaded single gave the Philadelphia Phillies a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in 10 innings Sunday night. A day earlier, Utley, who platoons with Polanco at second base, had a tiebreaking single off John Smoltz and an outstanding catch to save the game."That was very good for Poly," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We all know Poly is a great player. So is Utley. That's probably the toughest job I've had as a manager."The decision to platoon Utley and Polanco is not popular among Philadelphia fans, who have booed the veteran Polanco."It was very important to get a game-winning hit," said Polanco, who had been slumping. "It's good for the confidence."Raul Mondesi's sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th against Ryan Madson (1-1) broke a scoreless tie, but the Phillies rallied against Dan Kolb (0-2).Atlanta's Mike Hampton and Philadelphia's Brett Myers each pitched eight shutout innings.Kolb worked a scoreless ninth but walked David Bell and Mike Lieberthal to start the 10th. Kenny Lofton then sacrificed, and Kolb's throw to third sailed into left field for an error, allowing pinch-runner Tomas Perez to score.Jimmy Rollins also squared around and reached safely when Kolb couldn't come up with his bunt single in time. That loaded the bases and chased a frustrated Kolb, who knocked over a water cooler in the dugout.Polanco hit a hard shot down the third base line off Kevin Gryboski to win it."It's one dumb thing after another with me and it's starting to get irritating," said Kolb, who has three saves despite a 10.80 ERA in his first season with the Braves.Adam LaRoche led off the 10th with a single against Madson. Brian Jordan followed with a single to right, sending pinch-runner Pete Orr to third. Mondesi's fly to left scored Orr easily.Hampton allowed three hits and walked two in eight innings. The left-hander is 12-1 since last July 4 and has allowed one run or less in 10 of 17 starts since.Hampton almost drove in the first run when he doubled to right-center with two outs in the eighth. But Polanco's one-hop relay throw to the plate got slow-footed Johnny Estrada, who had singled.Myers allowed four hits, struck out five and walked none for his third consecutive solid outing. The right-hander struggled last year after winning 14 games in his first full season in 2003, finishing 11-11 with a 5.52 ERA.Myers retired his first 10 batters before Marcus Giles doubled down the right field line with one out in the fourth."I just tried to pound the strike zone and throw as many strikes as possible," Myers said. "I'm not afraid to throw a strike."The Braves threatened in the ninth when Giles doubled to right with one out against Billy Wagner. Giles stole third, but Wagner struck out Chipper Jones and third baseman Bell made a difficult play to retire Andruw Jones on a slow bouncer to end the inning.The Phillies didn't get a runner to second base until Jason Michaels doubled with two outs in the seventh. Andruw Jones nearly made an outstanding catch in center field, but the ball came out of his glove as he dived to his right. Hampton retired Bell on a grounder to end the inning."That's not the way to end a game after fighting like we did," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
The Phillies' starting rotation has a 3.24 ERA and has issued just 15 walks in 12 games. The starters have allowed three runs or less in 10 games. ... Atlanta's starters have allowed three runs or less and pitched at least six innings in seven of 12 games. ... Bell broke an 0-for-17 slump with a single in the third. ... Phillies first baseman Jim Thome's 12-game homerless drought is the longest of his career to start a season.