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Braves bombed
Early 5-0 hole dooms Atlanta in 8-3 loss

ATLANTA - Shane Victorino hit a home run and drove in four runs and the Phillies beat the Braves 8-3 on Tuesday night to remain unbeaten at Turner Field this season.

Pat Burrell also hit a homer for the Phillies, who improved to 6-1 against the Braves this season. They are 4-0 in Atlanta.

The Phillies took three straight wins in Atlanta on June 6-8 but then lost six straight series, including four against American League teams. The Phillies, only 4-11 in interleague play, are 41-28 against NL teams.

Chipper Jones was 1-for-3 with a double and two walks in his return after missing eight straight starts with a strained right quadriceps. Mark Kotsay came off the disabled list after missing 33 games since May 26 with a lower back strain. He went 0-for-4.

The Braves had one of the best home records in baseball in the first two months of the season but are only 3-7 in the last 10 home games, including the four losses to the Phillies.

The Phillies, who averaged only 2.8 runs while posting a 2-9 mark in their last 11 games, broke out with 14 hits. Philadelphia scored five runs on eight hits in the first three innings against Braves rookie Charlie Morton (1-2).

Burrell hit a second-inning homer and Victorino added a two-run shot in the Phillies' four-run third. Burrell and Geoff Jenkins had run-scoring singles in the third as the Phillies had six straight hits to knock Morton out of the game before he could record an out in the inning.

Victorino drove in two more runs with a bases-loaded single in the ninth.

Kyle Kendrick (8-3) gave up seven hits and three runs in six innings. He left after pinch-hitter Greg Norton's two-run double in the seventh. Norton scored on Mark Teixeira's groundout later in the inning, cutting the Phillies' lead to 5-3.

Braves relievers Buddy Carlyle, Manny Acosta and Will Ohman combined for six scoreless innings.

The Phillies scored three runs in the ninth off Blaine Boyer. Jayson Werth led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on Brian McCann's throwing error before scoring on a fly ball to left by Pedro Feliz. Boyer walked two batters before giving up Victorino's two-run single.

With his 20th homer, Burrell joined Mike Schmidt as the only Phillies with 20 or more homers in eight straight seasons. Schmidt hit at least 20 homers in eight straight seasons (1974-87).

Chase Utley (23) and Ryan Howard (20) and Burrell give the Phillies three players with at least 20 homers before the All-Star break for the first time in team history.

SideBar: Chipper Jones, Kotsay return to starting lineup

The Associated Press

ATLANTA - Chipper Jones, expected to be placed on the disabled list Tuesday, instead was back in the lineup for the Atlanta Braves.

Jones missed eight straight starts with a strained right quadriceps. Because of the continued discomfort, Jones feared he would be placed on the DL as the Braves opened an important series against the NL East-leading Phillies on Tuesday night.

Jones, who leads the major leagues with his .394 batting average, said he was 'very surprised' he didn't feel the expected discomfort while stretching and then running before the game.

'It's huge,' Jones said. 'It's probably nine games I don't have to miss.

'There's no way I'm going to go on the DL right now. I'm not going to come in today and be 75 or 80 percent and sit out. I'm sorry, it's not going to happen.'

Manager Bobby Cox made plans for the possibility of placing Jones and infielder Omar Infante (hamstring) on the disabled list. Neither move was necessary. Infante also felt better Tuesday and said he could play if needed.

The Braves also activated Mark Kotsay, who started in center field.

Jones aggravated the quadriceps injury on June 20. He appeared in three games as a pinch-hitter, collecting two hits, but couldn't follow through with his hopes to play as the designated hitter in the team's three-game visit to Toronto.

The Braves could have more good news this week. Cox said shortstop Yunel Escobar, who has missed five games with a jammed left shoulder, could start today.

Jones said that after he concluded he was healthy enough to avoid the disabled list, it was an easy decision to tell Cox he wanted to start. Jones passed that word to Cox at the start of batting practice, but Cox waited until after the session to change his lineup.

'I said when I could get to 75, 80 percent that I wanted to get back in there because I wouldn't embarrass myself out there on the basepath,' Jones said. 'I can do all the other stuff, no problem. I got there today.'

When asked if it was important to have Jones back against the Phillies, Cox said. 'We could use him against everybody, him and Escobar. Infante, too.'

Jones said the timing was nice. Despite the team's injuries, the Braves began the series only four games behind the Phillies, who swept three games in Atlanta on June 6-8.

'We've got the number one team in the division here going head to head,' Jones said. 'They waxed us pretty good a couple of weeks ago. We've got to play better.'

Kotsay has missed 33 games since May 26 with a lower back strain. He came off the disabled list after hitting .333 in five games in an injury rehabilitation stint with Double-A Mississippi.

'It was a long process,' Kotsay said. 'It's all well worth it once you get back contributing a little bit.'

The Braves optioned outfielder Brandon Jones, who was only 5-for-33 in his last 10 games, to Triple-A Richmond to clear a spot for Kotsay.

Rookie Gregor Blanco, who had been the primary fill-in starter for Kotsay in center field, remained in the lineup in left field as the leadoff hitter.

Rookie Brent Lillibridge made another start for Escobar at shortstop.