ATLANTA (AP) - Randall Delgado was good.
The problem for the Braves was that Joe Blanton was great.
Delgado threw eight strong innings in the longest start of his career but was overshadowed by Joe Blanton's three-hit shutout as Atlanta lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 on Thursday.
Delgado (2-3) allowed only six hits and two runs with no walks in eight innings. It was a loss, but he lowered his ERA from 6.30 to 5.14 and gave Atlanta's bullpen a rest one day after the team used eight pitchers in its 15-13 win in 11 innings.
``He deserved a better fate than what he got,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``He pitched great. He gave us every opportunity to win this game, and we didn't.'
Blanton threw his first shutout in five years, Shane Victorino hit a two-run homer and Laynce Nix also homered.
Blanton (3-3) did not walk a batter and had six strikeouts in his third career shutout, his first since June 2, 2007 for Oakland against Minnesota.
The Braves' only hits were singles by Freddie Freeman in the first, David Ross in the fifth and Michael Bourn in the ninth. Martin Prado then lined out into a double play to end the game.
Delgado, 22, had not lasted longer than 6 innings in the first 11 starts of his career in 2011 and this season.
``I felt more comfortable today, maybe because it was a day game,' he said.
``I just tried to concentrate. I just followed (catcher) David Ross.'
Delgado's control improved after he issued 12 walks in his first four starts this season, including seven in his last two games.
``He threw well,' Ross said. ``He found the strike zone. I'm proud of him.
``He made a good adjustment from the last outing. It just stinks we didn't score some runs for him.'
Blanton needed only 2 hours, 2 minutes for his win in the noon start. It provided a dramatic reversal of the Braves' 15-13 win in 11 innings on Wednesday night when the teams combined for 36 hits.
Wednesday night's 4-hour game lasted almost twice as long as Blanton's masterful performance.
``I tried to use last night to my advantage a little bit with an early 12 o'clock start today,' Blanton said. ``I wanted to pound the zone a lot and hope that maybe they were coming out a touch lethargic. I don't know if that was the case or not.'
The Braves barely had time to wake up.
The win allowed the Phillies to take two of three games in the first series between the NL East rivals. The Phillies were 12-6 against the Braves in 2011, including three-game sweeps in the last two series.
``It's not a rivalry until we beat them, and beat them consistently,' said Atlanta's Chipper Jones. ``Can we play with them? Yes. Can we beat them? Yes. We just have to do it consistently.'
Delgado gave up a run in the first when Jimmy Rollins singled, moved to second on Juan Pierre's bunt single, advance to third on Victorino's fly out and scored on Hunter Pence's sacrifice fly.
Delgado didn't allow another run until the seventh, when Nix hit his second homer over the 400-foot sign in center.
The Phillies added two runs off Livan Hernandez in the ninth. Pierre singled and scored on Victorino's fifth homer of the season.
Blanton had a base-running blunder in the eighth. He singled to center with one out, but then took off for second on Rollins' fly ball to left field. Martin Prado quickly threw the ball to Dan Uggla, whose relay throw to first easily beat Blanton for a double play.
Notes: Braves C Brian McCann had a scratch on the edge of his right eye when Michael Bourn, attempting a high-five at the plate after McCann's grand slam Wednesday night, accidently hit him in the face. McCann had the eye examined Thursday morning. He said he feels some discomfort but said there is no injury. He had a scheduled day off Thursday. ... Jones also had a routine day off after his game-winning homer in 11th Wednesday night. ... The Braves open a three-game series at Colorado on Friday night with RHP Tim Hudson (1-0) making his second start against RHP Guillermo Moscoso (0-1).
The Associated Press News Service
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