for this game

Smoltz dominant in 197th career win

May 5, 2007 - 3:28 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- It may have taken more than eight years, but John Smoltz finally beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Smoltz hurled seven outstanding innings and Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur drove in two runs apiece to power the Atlanta Braves to a 4-0 victory over the Dodgers on Friday night.

Pitching in his first home game since signing a contract that will likely allow him to end his career with Atlanta, Smoltz was dominant, scattering six hits and two walks while striking out six to record his first win over Los Angeles since April 19, 1999.

"It's intriguing," Smoltz said of his previous lack of success against the Dodgers. "I love pitching out (in Los Angeles). I haven't had a lot of success, for whatever reason. I don't understand it."

The 39-year old Smoltz (4-1) hurled 72 of his 102 pitches for strikes en route to notching his sixth quality start in seven outings this season. The righthander threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of the 31 batters he faced while notching the 197th victory of his major league career.

"It was vintage Smoltz," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "When he needs to make pitches, he can make them."

Los Angeles' best chance against Smoltz came in the fourth. The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs before Smoltz escaped.

After allowing successive singles to Nomar Garciaparra, Luis Gonzalez and Russell Martin to start the frame, the seven-time All-Star induced Andre Either to pop to short and struck out the light-hitting Wilson Betemit.

Left fielder Willie Harris, who was recalled from Class AAA Richmond on Sunday, made a running catch on a fly ball by Ramon Martinez to end the frame.

"It's a privilege to have that outfield (behind me) whenever I take the mound," Smoltz said. "When Willie Harris made that play, I felt like that's going to be the Dodgers' last chance."

Los Angeles also had two runners on base with one out in the second and the sixth against Smoltz, but both times the veteran closed the door against Betemit and Martinez, who came into this one batting .132 and .200, respectively.

In the second, Smoltz fanned Betemit and induced Martinez, who was playing second base after Jeff Kent was given the day off, to ground out to end the frame. In the sixth, Smoltz struck out Betemit and got Martinez to pop out to second.

Mike Gonzalez worked around two singles in the eighth and Rafael Soriano completed the shutout.

The Braves gave Smoltz all the breathing room he needed in the first.

With one out, Edgar Renteria extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single, and Los Angeles starter Brett Tomko walked Chipper Jones. One out later, McCann doubled to left, plating Renteria and Jones to give Atlanta a 2-0 edge.

"I found out what I was doing wrong," said McCann, who went to the opposite field on the ninth pitch of the at bat. "I corrected it. I feel like we were able to fix what was wrong."

"It's the best feeling in the world (to get runs early)," Smoltz said. "I've been concentrating on the first inning and starting the game strong. You get the lead, and you don't want to give up the lead."

Atlanta chased Tomko (0-3) in the fifth. The righthander opened the frame by walking Kelly Johnson and striking out Renteria. Jones reached on a fielder's choice, replacing Johnson.

Andruw Jones and McCann walked and Jeff Francoeur laced a liner to center field, which Dodgers center fielder Juan Pierre attempted to make a diving grab. The ball ticked off the top of his glove for a double, plating Chipper and Andruw Jones.

"I was looking for something away," Francoeur said. "I got a little help (from Pierre)."

All of Atlanta's four runs came with two outs. The Braves lead the major leagues with 71 two-out RBIs. Of the 146 runs scored by the Braves this season, 74 have been scored with two outs.

"Don't even ask me about it anymore," Cox joked. "I don't have the answer to that one."

Tomko allowed four runs and five hits, walked a season-high six and struck out three in 4 2/3 innings to fall to 0-4 with a 8.88 ERA in five starts at Turner Field.

"I felt like I threw the ball decently tonight," Tomko said of his walks, the most he's issued since May 31, 2005. "I don't think I was wild. I was just missing. I tried to make pitches and wasn't getting it done."

Chipper Jones was hitless in two at bats to snap his 12-game hitting streak.








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

    BATTERIES: LOS - BRETT TOMKO, JOE BEIMEL (5TH), CHAD BILLINGSLEY (6TH), RUDY
    SEANEZ (8TH) AND RUSSELL MARTIN
    ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ, MIKE GONZALEZ (8TH), RAFAEL SORIANO
    (9TH) AND

    May 4 10:16 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JEFF FRANCOEUR SCORED CHIPPER JONES AND ANDRUW
    JONES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J FRANCOEUR ON SECOND, B MCCANN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 0
    ATLANTA 4 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: S THORMAN (.271, 0-FOR-2)

    Dodgers vs. BravesMay 4 9:07 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED EDGAR RENTERIA AND CHIPPER
    JONES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, B MCCANN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 0
    ATLANTA 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.311, 5 HR, 25 RBI)

    Dodgers vs. BravesMay 4 7:52 PM