Braves hit break on sour note

Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez follows through on a two-run single in the seventh. He also homered and finished with six RBI.
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PHILADELPHIA - The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies started their key NL East series by splitting two close, dramatic games.

Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Michael Martinez tumbles over the rail after catching a pop foul by Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman.  Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Michael Martinez tumbles over the rail after catching a pop foul by Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman.

The third one was a no-doubter, sending the five-time defending division champs into the All-Star break on a high note.

The Braves were shut down again by Philadelphia's dominant starting pitching, and the Phillies set a season high with 20 hits in a 14-1 victory on Sunday.

Atlanta (54-38) fell 3½ games back in the division, but remained optimistic about its chances of catching Philadelphia in the second half.

"I think we're pleased where we are," Atlanta catcher Brian McCann said. "They haven't dominated us. We know we can play with them. They're a great team and so are we."
Cole Hamels (11-4) limited the Braves to one run and three hits in eight innings, following fellow All-Stars Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee with another strong performance.

Halladay pitched seven innings of two-run ball in the Phillies' 3-2 win in 10 innings in the series opener, and Lee gave up one run in eight innings Saturday night but the Braves won 4-1 in 11 innings.

"The first two were great games," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "This one, just forget about it."

Hamels allowed just one hit after the second inning and retired his final 13 batters.

While Hamels was cruising, the Phillies got to Derek Lowe for four runs and 10 hits in six innings and tagged reliever Cory Gearrin for six runs in one-third of an inning.

Dan Uggla doubled and scored for the Braves, who had won nine of 10 entering the series.

"The only thing that bothers me is we don't play tomorrow," Gonzalez said. "So we'll have a bad taste in our mouth until we come back."

Raul Ibanez homered and drove in six runs for Philadelphia, which had 17 hits in the first two games of the series. John Mayberry Jr. had three doubles and drove in a career-high four runs, and Michael Martinez, filling in for injured All-Star third baseman Placido Polanco, added four hits.

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