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Updated: Saturday, July 2, 2005 6:45 PM EDT
RECAP | BOX SCORE | PLAY-BY-PLAY

3

(44-37)
6

(41-40)
  R H E  
Braves 3 4 0 WP: Myers (6-4)
LP: Ramirez (7-5)
S: Wagner (20)  
Phillies 6 11 0
Phillies overcome late struggles by Myers, beat Braves

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Brett Myers started strong but needed Billy Wagner to assist him in the end.

Myers carried a one-hitter into the ninth inning before tiring, but Wagner came on to close the door as the Philadelphia Phillies hung on for a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves .

Struggling in his previous two outings with 13 runs allowed over 7 1/3 innings, Myers (6-4) was dominant in the first eight frames of this one.

After yielding a one-out single to Adam LaRoche in the second, the 24-year-old righthander - who struck out eight without a walk - retired the next 20 batters to enter the ninth in search of his fifth career complete game and second of the year with a 6-0 lead. He threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of the 30 batters he faced.

"That's the key to any pitching success," Myers said. "If you look at all the success that the Atlanta Braves have had with their pitching staff, all they teach is strike one. When you get strike one, you've got so many options you can do. If you're not ahead in the count, you're gonna struggle.

"I was just trying to throw strikes today instead of trying to overthrow. I was trying to hit my spots and let them put the ball in play."

Myers ran into trouble in the ninth when Wilson Betemit ripped the first pitch he saw for a ground ball that got past diving shortstop Jimmy Rollins . Pinch hitter Julio Franco followed with a single to right and Rafael Furcal drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases.

"I thought I made some good pitches there at the end, and they put the bat on the ball and just looped them right over (the infield)," Myers said. "The pitch that I made to Betemit was a fastball away I made all day and the pitch to Franco was a pretty good curveball."

After Myers unleashed a wild pitch that scored Betemit and struck out rookie Kelly Johnson , Marcus Giles lined a double that halved the Braves' deficit.

"We're gonna play until the end," Giles said. "Obviously, on paper we don't have the best talent, but off paper, we do. As stupid as that sounds, these (young) guys haven't proven themselves, but they will shortly."

"(Myers) threw strikes all day long," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "We got him a little bit in the ninth inning. He was just absolutely dynamite."

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel finally had seen enough and brought in Wagner, who retired Andruw Jones and Brian Jordan to seal the win and notch his 20th save.

The win was just the third in the last 13 games for the Phillies, who did most of their damage offensively with two outs.

With the Phillies already ahead, 2-0, Myers took advantage of a chance to help his own cause in the fourth inning. After Atlanta starter Horacio Ramirez (7-5) intentionally walked Todd Pratt to load the bases, Myers delivered a two-out RBI single to increase Philadelphia's lead.

"After they walked Tank (Pratt), I had to do something," Myers said. "The best way to get a hit is to try to put a ball in play in that situation."

In the fifth, David Bell belted his fifth homer - a three-run shot - against the lefthanded Ramirez with two outs to double the Phillies' advantage.

Bell entered the game tied for first in the National League with a .431 batting average against lefthanders.

"I wish I was hitting righthanders for the same average," Bell said. "I really don't know why it's happened like that. I'm just working on trying to get consistent at the plate. When my swing is right, I hit righthanders a lot better than I have."

Ramirez, who went 4-0 with a 3.55 ERA in June, yielded all six runs, eight hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

"I was surprised I had (an outing) like this," Ramirez said. "You don't go out there thinking you're gonna throw 4 2/3 (innings) and give up six runs. I was expecting to come in here and go deep into the ballgame, keep the team in it, but that wasn't the case today."

Philadelphia opened the scoring in the second when Pat Burrell led off with his 17th home run of the season. Jason Michaels added an RBI single with two outs in the third.

"It was good today for us to get the lead," Burrell said. "It seems like when (Myers) is on, guys just don't take very good swings. The way things have been going, that's exactly what we needed."

Burrell and rookie Ryan Howard were among four Phillies who collected two hits.

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