PHILADELPHIA - The Atlanta Braves' fuel tanks were perilously approaching 'E' when their Saturday dawned in the City of Brotherly Love.
Then, Philadelphia's Brett Myers drained them the rest of the way.
With the Braves on fumes, Myers mowed down the weary visiting ballclub for eight-plus innings in a 6-3 Philadelphia victory at Citizens Bank Park.
Atlanta endured nearly 10 hours of baseball in their final two games at Florida and the team arrived in Philly, after the rain-delayed series finale, at 4:25 a.m. Friday.
The Braves gutted out a rather easy victory Friday, but looked mostly zombie-like for their quick-turnaround Saturday afternoon game.
To induce that appearance even more, Myers followed up starts in which he allowed six and seven runs in a combined 7q innings by going 8q on Saturday. Eight of those innings were scoreless.
"I know his last two starts weren't that great, but he's had plenty just like today," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
He gave up only one hit - a bloop single by Adam LaRoche in the second - before he began to fade in the ninth.
"That's one of the better pitching performances I've seen against us all year," Cox said. "He was just absolutely dynamite."
Myers (6-4) had retired 20 in a row until Wilson Betemit's single to lead off the ninth. Later, Marcus Giles' double plated two and forced Myers out, but his work already had put Atlanta in a serious hole.
He struck out nine Braves, working both sides of the plate, something Giles said he hadn't done in the previous three times they'd seen Myers this year.
He was 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA in those prior starts. He'd given up four runs in consecutive losses to Atlanta.
In theory, one would think seeing a pitcher more gives the hitters an advantage. Not necessarily the case, Giles said. Not when Myers was on his game like he was.
"Obviously, he was just painting today. Hats off to him," said Giles, the best Braves hitter against Myers (10-for-22 lifetime). "Just because you face a guy five, six, seven times, it doesn't make it any easier. You might have an idea of what he's going to come at you with, but you've still got to hit the ball."
For the most part, Atlanta didn't, although two good things did come out of Saturday.
First, the final-inning rally to score three runs that forced Phillies closer Billy Wagner into action showed heart on the Braves' parts, Giles said.
"We're not capable of qutting," Giles said.
Secondly, down several runs early, Cox got the opportunity to trot out a few on-the-ropes relievers, a couple of whom were able to perhaps build up some confidence.
Reach Travis Haney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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