for this game

Bullpen holds off Nationals as Braves earn sweep

Apr 18, 2007 - 5:48 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- It wasn't vintage John Smoltz, but if anyone is happy about the Atlanta Braves' offseason bullpen makeover, it's the star righthander.

Smoltz pitched six strong innings and the bullpen held on as the Braves posted a 6-4 victory over the Washington Nationals to earn a sweep of their two-game series.

Smoltz (2-1), who left games with a lead six times in 2006 only to watch the bullpen blow the lead, allowed four runs - two earned - and struck out two to pick the win.

"I'm very disappointed in myself. I put the pen in a tough situation. I felt in control the whole game tonight, but I made some mistakes," Smoltz said. "I'm fearful of what I would have done to myself if we lost. There lineup if full of battle. They just wear you down. The win was the saving grace tonight."

The relief corps blew 25 save opportunities in 2006 as Atlanta missed the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.

"The bullpen was huge tonight," Smoltz said. "They bailed me out tonight. They really came through in a tough situation. That's the difference between our club this year and last year."

Kelly Johnson broke out of a 6-for-40 slump with his first major league four-hit game for the Braves.

"This was a big win for us and it was a good night for me personally," Johnson said. "It really seems things went our way tonight. It shows hard work prevails. This was a really nice night for me tonight. This is a night I will remember for the rest of myself."

Chipper Jones hit a solo homer in the top of the ninth and drove in a pair.

"I've been feeling good at the plate lately but tonight we played terrible defensively, just terrible," Jones said. "This win is a testament to our bullpen. They really picked up the slack for us tonight."

Atlanta shortstop Edgar Renteria made two errors, which allowed the first two runs to score.

Rafael Soriano, who came over in an offseason trade from the Seattle Mariners, pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings and Bob Wickman pitched a perfect ninth to earn his fourth save.

The Nationals, who were all wearing Virginia Tech University hats after Monday's tragedy, were let down by a poor first inning from starter Jerome Williams (0-3).

The 25-year-old righthander surrendered four straight singles without recording an out as Atlanta jumped to a three-run lead. Williams settled down after the first, allowing just three hits over the next four innings.

"I was frustrated how I started out tonight, I missed a couple of spots, but I battled back," Williams said. "I just have to put this one behind me and keep working hard. Eventually, things will start falling into place."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 11 3
    WASHINGTON 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 4 7 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ, OSCAR VILLARREAL (7TH), RAFAEL SORIANO (7TH), BOB
    WICKMAN (9TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN
    WAS - JEROME WILLIAMS, MICAH BOWIE (6TH), RYAN WAGNER
    (7TH), JE

    Apr 17 10:16 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CHIPPER JONES (4) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF JON RAUCH.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 6, WASHINGTON 4
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: A JONES (.191, 1-FOR-4, RBI)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 10:07 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - MID INNING UPDATE
    PLAY: C Wilson at first base.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, F LOPEZ ON FIRST, A KEARNS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R Zimmerman (.211, 1-FOR-3)

    Apr 17 9:34 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - MID INNING UPDATE
    PLAY: R Soriano relieved O Villarreal.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, F LOPEZ ON FIRST, A KEARNS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R Zimmerman (.211, 1-FOR-3)

    Apr 17 9:34 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - PITCHING CHANGE
    ATL: RAFAEL SORIANO (1-0, 5.79) IN THE 7TH
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, F LOPEZ ON FIRST, A KEARNS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5, WASHINGTON 4
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R ZIMMERMAN (.211, 1-FOR-3)

    Apr 17 9:34 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY FELIPE LOPEZ SCORED CHRIS SNELLING.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, F LOPEZ ON FIRST, A KEARNS ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R BELLIARD (.319, 0-FOR-3)

    Apr 17 9:29 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY FELIPE LOPEZ SCORED CHRIS SNELLING.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, F LOPEZ ON FIRST, A KEARNS ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R BELLIARD (.319, 0-FOR-3)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 9:29 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - MID INNING UPDATE
    PLAY: O Villarreal relieved J Smoltz.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C SNELLING ON THIRD, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A Kearns (.240, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

    Apr 17 9:24 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - PITCHING CHANGE
    ATL: OSCAR VILLARREAL (0-0, 1.50) IN THE 7TH
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C SNELLING ON THIRD, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5, WASHINGTON 3
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A KEARNS (.240, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

    Apr 17 9:24 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY CHRIS SNELLING SCORED BRIAN SCHNEIDER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C SNELLING ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A KEARNS (.240, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

    Apr 17 9:23 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY CHRIS SNELLING SCORED BRIAN SCHNEIDER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C SNELLING ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A KEARNS (.240, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 9:23 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 5 9 2
    WASHINGTON 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 4 1 (BOT 7)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ
    WAS - JESUS COLOME

    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: B SCHNEIDER (.171, 0-FOR-2)
    C SNELLING (.250, 1-FOR-1, BB)
    A KEARNS (.240, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

    Apr 17 9:19 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED KELLY JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B MCCANN ON FIRST, C JONES ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    WASHINGTON 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.267, 1-FOR-2, SF, 2 RBI)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 9:13 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY EDGAR RENTERIA ALLOWED RYAN ZIMMERMAN TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CHURCH ON FIRST, D YOUNG ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 4
    WASHINGTON 2 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R FICK (.083, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 8:51 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 3 0 1 0 0 0 4 7 1
    WASHINGTON 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 1 (BOT 6)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ
    WAS - MICAH BOWIE

    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: F LOPEZ (.286, 1-FOR-2)
    R BELLIARD (.326, 0-FOR-2)
    R ZIMMERMAN (.196, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 8:40 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - MID INNING UPDATE
    PLAY: K Casto hit for J Williams.
    SITUATION: 0 RUNS IN, C SNELLING ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    WASHINGTON 0 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: K Casto (.179, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 8:37 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY EDGAR RENTERIA ALLOWED CHRIS SNELLING TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, 1 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    WASHINGTON 0 END BOTTOM, 3RD

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 8:34 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JEFF FRANCOEUR SCORED BRIAN MCCANN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, 1 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    WASHINGTON 1 END TOP, 3RD

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 8:33 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON
    CONFIRMED STARTERS: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ
    WAS - JEROME WILLIAMS

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 8:30 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 3 0 1 0 4 7 1
    WASHINGTON 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 (TOP 5)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ
    WAS - JEROME WILLIAMS

    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: A JONES (.200, 1-FOR-2, RBI)
    B MCCANN (.317, 1-FOR-1, BB)
    J FRANCOEUR (.273, 1-FOR-1, SF, 2 RBI

    Apr 17 8:20 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY FELIPE LOPEZ SCORED CHRIS SNELLING.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, F LOPEZ ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 4
    WASHINGTON 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R BELLIARD (.333, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 8:07 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JEFF FRANCOEUR SCORED BRIAN MCCANN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J FRANCOEUR ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 4
    WASHINGTON 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: S THORMAN (.174, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 7:49 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 3 0 3 5 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 1 (BOT 2)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ
    WAS - JEROME WILLIAMS

    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: D YOUNG (.302, 2 HR, 7 RBI)
    R CHURCH (.341, 3 HR, 6 RBI)
    R FICK (.100, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Apr 17 7:39 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 3 3 4 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 1 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ
    WAS - JEROME WILLIAMS

    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: F LOPEZ (.278, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
    R BELLIARD (.341, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
    R ZIMMERMAN (.204, 0 HR,

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 17 7:22 PM