PHILADELPHIA - He said it jokingly, after he'd felt the wintry air sting his cheek.
"You can't grip the ball in weather like this," Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone said. "I expect to see some pitches up on the screen."
Mazzone's forecast on a bitterly cold Tuesday night at Veterans Stadium was only half-right. The two starting pitchers, Atlanta's Jason Marquis and Philadelphia's Randy Wolf, did not endanger paying customers, but they did show some faulty radar with a combined 10 walks, though neither was around at the end.
On a night when the Philly Phanatic, dressed as Santa Claus and danced to Let It Snow, the Braves rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, but lost 4-3 in the 10th when Tomas Perez singled in the winning run with two outs against reliever Kevin Gryboski, spoiling the start of a 10-day, nine-game trip before 13,283 shivering fans at Veterans Stadium.
It was 37 degrees at game time, and it felt colder with a breeze rippling a flag in center field..
However, right fielder Gary Sheffield and manager Bobby Cox had to endure the arctic conditions less than five innings. They were both ejected by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley after objecting to a third-strike call on Sheffield in the top of the fifth.
In the second, after second baseman Marcus Giles threw wide of first on Pat Burrell's roller and Marquis' pickoff throw went high and wide of first baseman Robert Fick, the righthander issued a pair of two-out walks, then gave up a two-run single to Wolf. Jimmy Rollins followed with a single through the left side to make it 3-0.
Three walks - the last two coming with two outs - loaded the bases in the third, but Marquis, who walked a career-high six, wriggled free by whiffing Wolf on three pitches.
Wolf ducked trouble in the first, when Sheffield sent a double into the right field corner with two outs and Chipper Jones walked. The lefty whiffed Andruw Jones to end the rally, then stranded runners on first and second the next inning by inducing Rafael Furcal to pop up.
The Braves then displayed their ability to manufacture runs, wiping out most of the deficit by scoring twice in the fourth. Walks to Vinny Castilla and Giles set up Marquis' bunt, then Wolf's wild pitch sent Castilla across the plate and Furcal's infield hit drove home Giles.
Down, 3-2, in the sixth, Giles worked Wolf for a walk with two outs, scooted to second on Wolf's second wild pitch, then pinch hitter Julio Franco, who was 0 for 3 off the bench, rifled a game-tying double into the right field corner off reliever Carlos Silva.
Darren Bragg, who replaced Sheffield, and Andruw Jones were on base in the seventh, when Silva coaxed a rally-killing tapper from Javy Lopez, who was 0 for 4 Tuesday and has one hit with runners in scoring position in the first eight games.
The Braves had another opportunity in the eighth, when Castilla singled and Giles bunted him to second. But Matt Franco, who ducked into a sporting goods store for some warm weather gear on his way to the park, rolled to second, and Furcal's soft fly was gloved by Rollins.
Fick lined a double off reliever Terry Adams to open the ninth, then after Darren Bragg rolled out and Chipper Jones went down swinging, Javy Lopez swung and missed closer Jose Mesa's 2-and-2 slider to leave the Braves 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position.