PHILADELPHIA -- When the end mercifully came at 12:54 a.m., it was a 30-year-old backup infielder who answered the Braves' prayers.
Steve Sisco's first major league hit was a two-run homer against Phillies reliever Scott Aldred in the 10th inning Saturday night, lifting the Braves to a 3-2 victory in a game that was delayed nearly three hours by rain.
With most of the crowd of 20,516 at Veterans Stadium long gone, Bobby Bonilla opened the 10th with a single and Sisco, called up from Class AAA Richmond last week, launched an 0 and 1 pitch over the left field wall, giving the Braves back-to-back wins for the first time since May 1-2.
"I've hit some home runs in my career, but nothing ever prepares you for that first trip around the bases," Sisco said. "I'm thankful I was calm and my legs weren't shaking so I was able to get a good swing on it. I wasn't looking for a home run in that situation."
Mother Nature spoiled a terrific pitching duel between Greg Maddux and Andy Ashby. The two pitchers left a 1-1 game when high winds began scattering trash like confetti on the field in the top of the seventh. Crew chief Ed Montague waved the teams off the field without a drop of rain falling, just ahead of a major front that came through and dumped an inch of the wet stuff on the turf.
Before the storm arrived, the crowd enjoyed watching a pair of pitchers pick apart hitters like kids playing SEGA baseball.
In the second, Ashby upended Andres Galarraga with a high, tight fastball and Galarraga responded by hitting his next pitch 420 feet into the left field seats. Galarraga, who had not homered since connecting off San Diego's Carlos Almanzar on April 29, didn't do any further damage, hitting a fly ball in the fourth and becoming Ashby's fifth and final strikeout victim in the seventh.
Ashby, who beat the Braves 7-4 last Sunday in Atlanta, escaped the fourth after walking Chipper Jones and hitting Brian Jordan with a pitch. He snuck a third strike past Bobby Bonilla to end the threat, then didn't allow another runner to reach second.
The Braves, who banged Ashby around for 10 hits Sunday, but also whiffed eight times, had only two hits following Galarraga's homer, Fernando Lunar's fifth-inning single and Jordan's broken-bat bouncer through the left side just ahead of the rain in the seventh.
Maddux, who took a no-decision last Monday despite not allowing an earned run to the Marlins, yielded the tying run on Doug Glanville's third-inning sacrifice fly. Maddux twice had Glanville struck out, but home plate umpire Jerry Layne refused to call a third strike and Glanville finally lifted a medium-deep fly to Andruw Jones to score Desi Relaford.
The Phillies, who managed only eight hits and two earned runs off Maddux in a 4-3, 12-inning loss in Atlanta on April 18, couldn't figure out the four-time Cy Young winner again. Two of their three hits didn't leave the infield and Maddux whiffed five, including All-Star catcher Mike Lieberthal twice.
The Braves' ace, who has more wins against the Phillies than any team except the Mets, including an 11-5 record at The Vet, didn't allow a runner to advance past first base following Relaford's single and stolen base in the third.