Braves ruin opening day for Phillies
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Atlanta Braves ruined Major League Baseball's opening day for World Series champions Philadelphia on Sunday, belting three home runs in the first two innings for a 4-1 victory over the Phillies.
Starting pitcher Derek Lowe gave up only two hits over eight innings, while Brian McCann cracked a two-run homer in the first and Jeff Francoeur and Jordan Schafer followed with solo shots in the second.
Schafer's homer came in his first Major League at-bat.
"I think we're going to surprise a lot of people," Schafer, the Braves' rookie center fielder, told reporters. "I definitely didn't expect for that (homer) to happen. I don't think my feet hit the ground going around the bases."
Lowe, acquired from Los Angeles in the offseason, struck out four with no walks before handing over to reliever Mike Gonzalez.
"He was awesome," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of the sinkerball-throwing Lowe. "He had three-up, three-down in six innings and gave up two groundball hits."
The right-hander joined the Braves in January, signing a four-year $60 million deal.
"It went about as good as possible for me tonight," Lowe said. "It was a fun game to be a part of."
Gonzalez gave up two hits and a run in the ninth before striking out Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez to end the game.
Brett Myers started for Philadelphia and gave up eight hits and three homers in six innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Four relievers held the Braves hitless the remainder of the game but the damage had already been done.
Chipper Jones singled to left center to start the Atlanta offense. McCann, the next batter, homered to right to make it a 2-0 game.
Francoeur led off the second with his home run and after one out, the 22-year-old Schafer hit one out of the park to center.
"That was far beyond my dreams," said Schafer, who went 2-for-3.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom)
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