PHILADELPHIA - Trading Kevin Millwood was not an idea the Atlanta Braves embraced last winter, but the reality of his $10 million salary forced the issue.
The deal for Russ Ortiz didn't receive the same fanfare, but he has as many wins as Millwood, at less than half the price.
Ortiz and the Braves spoiled Millwood's first appearance against his former teammates by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-1, on Wednesday night at Veterans Stadium.
Ortiz proved to be more than a good story line, pitching six shutout innings. He handed a 6-0 lead to the bullpen, which rebounded from Tuesday night's loss. Relievers Trey Hodges, Ray King and Kevin Gryboski combined to allow one run on five hits during the last three innings.
Ortiz improved to 8-4, while Millwood lost for the fourth time in five starts, his record falling to 8-5.
The Braves reduced a crowd of 26,475 fans in full throttle to a whisper by scoring two runs in the first inning.
Millwood's travails continued in the third, when he issued a leadoff walk to Gary Sheffield and a run-scoring single to right by Robert Fick. Javy Lopez then worked the right-hander for a walk, and Vinny Castilla delivered an RBI single to center to make it 4-0.
Millwood went out and pitched two scoreless innings, but that wasn't enough to spare him an early dismissal. He was gone after five innings, having allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks.
Larry Bowa called for reliever Carlos Silva, and Sheffield made the Phils manager rue that decision when he hit a two-run home run into the left-center field stands in the sixth, his 19th home run of the season, and the Braves had a 6-0 lead.
The Phillies, meanwhile, went to great lengths to spare Ortiz the surprise of a second-straight loss. They rolled into two double plays in the first three innings, then collected back-to-back singles by Pat Burrell and Mike Lieberthal in the fourth, but couldn't score.
Ortiz, who had not beaten the Phillies in almost three years, combined with Millwood on a 32-minute first inning, then picked up the pace and cruised into the sixth with a three-hitter. Along the way he got Phillies strongman Jim Thome out twice, inducing him to tap into a double play in the first and striking him out in the fourth.
In the sixth, Thome lined a one-out double to right-center, but Burrell popped up, drawing the wrath of the partisans, and Lieberthal lined to Chipper Jones in left, who charged into the gap to make the catch.
Reach Bill Zack at email@example.com.
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