Originally created 05/07/00

Braves home streak ends



ATLANTA -- Say good-bye to The Streak, Part II.

The Braves, perfect at Turner Field since April 7, went down like dominoes Saturday night before Phillies ace Curt Schilling, shut out for the first time this season, 6-0, ending their streak of home wins at a franchise-record 12.

In his second start since coming off the disabled list following December shoulder surgery, Schilling dominated a lineup missing Andres Galarraga, Brian Jordan and Reggie Sanders. In front of the first sellout crowd of the season (48,610), he swept through the Braves for his 100th career win, holding them to 11 singles and one walk in his first complete game since last July 18, striking out nine.

"Schilling was pretty phenomenal for only his second start," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He was throwing harder at the end than at the beginning. He had a couple of chances, but for the most part he pretty much dominated the ballgame."

This wasn't a night to be Schilling's counterpart. Kevin Millwood, who beat the Phils 6-4 on April 20, wasn't the same pitcher. He didn't have his usual command and the Phillies jumped on his fastball when it entered the zone, Doug Glanville's second-inning double scoring two runs and Mike Lieberthal's run-scoring single making it 4-0 in the third.

The Phils added another run on Ron Gant's sixth-inning bloop single, the five earned runs matching Millwood's season-high. He exited after six, saddled with his first loss, his streak of seven innings in five straight starts halted.

"I was going to have to be pretty outstanding to keep up with Schilling," Millwood said. "My control wasn't the best, and my pitch selection wasn't the greatest. When that happens, I'm not going to win the game."

Until the fourth, the Braves, losers of three games at home all season, failed to get a hit, much less advance a runner past first base. Schilling's only nervous moment came in the sixth when singles by Quilvio Veras and Andruw Jones put runners on first and second with one out.

But a terrific catch by right fielder Bobby Abreu on Chipper Jones' sinking liner turned into an inning-ending double play when Abreu caught Andruw Jones straying off first base.

Schilling, who missed the Phils' first 23 games, was on top of his game. Using a 95 mph fastball and a split-finger, he struck out three of the first nine hitters he faced and didn't give up a hit until Veras rocketed a grounder off shortstop Desi Relaford's glove in the fourth.

"One of the things I gathered early in my career from watching (Braves pitchers) is that they all have simple mechanics and when they need to reach back for a little extra, they can," Schilling said. "(Greg) Maddux does it quite often, where he'll go from 88 mph to 91 mph on one pitch when he needs it."

A lineup missing three regulars didn't advance a runner into scoring position until the sixth and was a collective 5-for-16 with men on base, including 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"We didn't have our full arsenal in there, but I doubt it would have made a difference," Chipper Jones said. "Any time you can give up 11 hits and go nine innings, you're making big pitches when you have to. That's typical Curt. He's made his living being a workhorse. He looked none the worse for wear to me."

The Braves' best chances to score came in the final three innings.

In the seventh, they put runners on first and second on singles by Bobby Bonilla and Javy Lopez with one out. But second baseman Mickey Morandini flagged down Trenidad Hubbard's smash headed for right field and Rafael Furcal tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

Chipper Jones followed third baseman Scott Rolen's error in the eighth with a single, but Schilling induced a popup from Wally Joyner to kill the rally.

In the ninth, singles by Bonilla and Lopez got Schilling's attention. He whiffed Hubbard and Furcal, then Keith Lockhart's broken-bat hit loaded the bases for pinch hitter Galarraga.

The 33-year-old right-hander didn't waste any time. His 125th pitch was a swinging strike three, ending the game in typical Schilling fashion.

"It's not like I came back from a near-death experience," he said. "I had shoulder surgery and I came back from it."

No doubt of that in the Braves' minds.

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.