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Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2004 12:04 AM EDT
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PHILADELPHIA 7, ATLANTA 6 (10 INNINGS)
 

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- With yet another National League East opponent threatening to move within a game of their first-place position, the Philadelphia Phillies continued to receive clutch hits and defeated the Atlanta Braves , 7-6, in 10 innings.

Facing Atlanta closer John Smoltz , Philadelphia trailed, 6-5, with one out in the ninth when Chase Utley homered to center field, forcing extra innings.

With runners on the corners and one out in the 10th, pinch hitter Tomas Perez ripped a line drive down the right-field line off Antonio Alfonseca (5-3) to seal Philadelphia's second consecutive win in its final at-bat.

On Thursday, Bobby Abreu hit a leadoff home run off John Franco in the ninth to defeat the New York Mets , 5-4.

It also marked the second time this season that Perez beat Alfonseca as the utility player hit a 10th-inning homer against the reliever on May 28.

"It was a tough game for us, but we keep balance all game, so that is why you call it a team," said Perez, who is 5-for-8 as a pinch hitter. "(Alfonseca) has a good sinker. He throws hard, but that happens."

Smoltz suffered just his second blown save in 17 opportunities. Perez's hit made a winner of Billy Wagner (3-0), Philadelphia's fifth pitcher who won for the second straight night.

"Unfortunately, I didn't throw a bad pitch and I blew a save," Smoltz said. "That's the just the way the game goes sometimes. Just shake your head, tip your hat, whatever you gotta do. This was a big game and we let it slip away."

The Phillies moved two games in front of New York and three in front of Atlanta, which wasted a 6-1 lead built on three-run homers by Rafael Furcal in the third and fifth innings. It was Furcal's second career multi-homer game, and his six RBI set a career mark.

Furcal's first homer led to the ejection of Phillies manager Larry Bowa , his fourth of the season. Bowa, along with left fielder Pat Burrell , argued the call of third base umpire Gerry Davis as it appeared on replays that the ball was foul.

"When the (Atlanta) announcers on their feed tell you the Braves got a huge break, that should tell you all you have to know," Bowa explained. "They are not perfect, but I do not know how you can miss that ball down the line."

Mike Lieberthal made it 6-5 with a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Chris Reitsma . Lieberthal reached base in all five of his plate appearances.

"The ball came back over the middle and he put it in the seats," Reitsma said. "Unfortunately, I left the door open a crack today and they ran right through it."

It was the 29th come-from-behind win for Philadelphia this season, ranking second in the majors behind the New York Yankees (31).

"We never really feel like we are out of the game," Utley said. "The home run early in the game was questionable, but we hung in there. I have to give a lot of credit to our bullpen. They did a great job closing the door and allowing us to come back."

The bullpen did not allow a run in 3 1/3 innings and has compiled a 1.80 ERA over the last eight games (40 innings).


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