PHILADELPHIA (AP) -If
had been this dominant last October, the
might not be World Series champions.
Lowe pitched eight superb innings, three Braves homered off
, and Atlanta beat the defending champs 4-1 in the major league opener Sunday night.
Lowe (1-0) allowed two hits, no walks, struck out four and the sinkerballer got 13 groundouts.
pitched out of trouble in the ninth to secure the win.
The Phillies had better luck against Lowe when he pitched for Los Angeles in the NL championship series. They beat him in
Game 1 of the NLCS and he had a no-decision in the Dodgers' loss in Game 4.
''Having just played them, it was easy to watch video to see what you did last time,'' Lowe said. ''They're an extremely good
hitting team. I was able to get ahead in the count. I just wanted to be consistent.''
hit a two-run homer,
had a solo shot and
went deep in his first career at-bat for the Braves.
Once Lowe came out, the Phillies rallied. Pinch-hitter
started the ninth with a double and scored on
's one-out RBI single. After Gonzalez walked
to bring up the tying run, the hard-throwing lefty struck out
swinging to end it.
''He was awesome,'' Braves manager
said of Lowe. ''He really knows how to pitch.''
Atlanta gave Lowe a $60 million, four-year contract to anchor its revamped rotation, and the 35-year-old right-hander pitched
like an ace in his debut with his new team. He gave the Braves the type of masterful effort they used to get from
''It's nice to get
a win,'' McCann said. ''He had great stuff. It's a lot better to catch him than hit against him.''
Myers (0-1) filled in for
, whose first start was pushed back because of minor elbow problems. Hamels, the NLCS and World Series MVP, is expected to
pitch at Colorado on Friday.
The Phillies celebrated the franchise's second World Series title during an hour-long ceremony before the game. Led by the
Phanatic and veteran pitcher
, players entered the field from Ashburn Alley behind the stands in left-center field. They walked past adoring fans in the
aisles, down stairs and onto a red carpet that stretched from the warning track to the infield.
raised the 2008 championship flag on the concourse behind the brick batter's eye. After a giant American flag was unfurled
in the outfield, players were introduced to rousing ovations. Fans who used to boo Manuel lustily chanted ''Charlie, Charlie''
when the lovable skipper jogged out.
Even their uniforms had a special look only for this game. All the red lettering and numbers were trimmed in gold.
The festive crowd of 44,532 had barely settled into the seats by the time the Braves jumped ahead. Making his third straight
opening-day start, Myers retired the first two batters before
lined a single to left. McCann followed with a shot that reached the second deck in right field.
A smattering of boos were heard while McCann circled the bases. It wouldn't be Philly without some jeers. Myers got an earful
a bit later, too.
''That's part of it. We can handle it,'' Manuel said. ''A lot of people were here. They wanted to see a good game. We got
off to a slow start.''
Francoeur led off the second with a liner into the seats in left. One batter later, Schafer drove one out to center. The rookie
center fielder became the fifth Atlanta player to homer in his debut and first since Francoeur did it in 2005.
''It was a great feeling,'' Schafer said. ''As soon as I hit it, I thought, 'Oh Wow.'''
Myers settled in after that inning. He allowed four runs and eight hits, striking out six in six innings. Coming off a down-and-up
season in which he was briefly demoted to the minors, the 28-year-old right-hander has plenty riding on his performance because
he's in the final season of a $25.75 million, three-year contract.
''I made three mistakes and they didn't miss them,'' Myers said. ''Sometimes they pop those up. Not in this case. Give them
The Phillies are favorites to win their third straight NL East title mainly because they have nearly the same team that went
11-3 against Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay in the postseason.
But Philadelphia's star-studded offense sputtered in the opener.
, Utley and Howard combined to go 1-for-11 with two strikeouts.
's a tough guy to hit. He was on his game,'' Howard said. ''He's a groundball pitcher. I don't know if he has a magnet in
there to keep it down or whatever. Give him credit.''
Notes: The Phillies are 56-69-2 in openers. They've lost four straight openers for the first time since dropping eight in
a row from 1985-92. ... The Braves are 19-25 in openers since moving to Atlanta. ... Schafer is the first Braves player to
make his big-league debut as a starter on opening day since LF
in 1981. ... Jones set an Atlanta record by playing in his 14th season opener. ... NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson presented
a Phillies jersey that he wore in space to Manuel before the game. ... Phillies former general manager Pat Gillick, who retired
after last season, threw out the first pitch. ... Miss America Katie Stam sang the national anthem.