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Five-run rally lifts Smoltz, Braves past Cardinals

Aug 25, 2007 - 5:40 AM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- John Smoltz pitched eight strong innings, getting all the support he need during a five-run fourth inning, as the Atlanta Braves beat the Cardinals, 7-2, on Friday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Smoltz (12-6) surrendered six hits and allowed two runs while striking out six as the Braves moved into a tie for second place in the National League wild card race with the Philadelphia Phillies (66-61), three games back of the San Diego Padres (69-58).

"We made some great defensive plays and scored some runs," Smoltz said. "That was a big one. I've struggled with these guys. I changed it up on them, I felt. And of course, trying to keep the ball in the yard, that's the key with (Cardinals slugger Albert) Pujols."

The Braves (67-62) remained six games back of the New York Mets in the NL East.

Cardinals starter Kip Wells (6-14) lasted only four innings, allowing seven runs - five earned - on eight hits. The righthander struggled with his control, walking five while striking out three.

"I was just trying to make one pitch at a time," Wells said. "I was having to work hard. Obviously throwing 100 pitches in four innings is a pretty taxing assignment. But I made a lot of pitches that were just off the corner. I was just being too fine with stuff."

The five-run rally began with some shoddy defense by St. Louis, which committed four errors for the second straight game.

"I know we're a good defensive club," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It made for a tougher night than it had to be. You know, we haven't pitched well either. We needed to generate tougher at-bats than we did. We had a poor night."

Atlanta put runners on first and second with one out when Kelly Johnson hit a ground ball to rookie second baseman Brendan Ryan, who made a terrific throw to shortstop David Eckstein to start a double play. Eckstein, though, dropped the ball, allowing Yunel Escobar to score from second and the inning to continue.

"It was good to put all of it together," Johnson said. "We came out and got big runs in an inning and shut them down for the rest of the game. That's kind of a change of pace from what's been going on."

Chipper Jones made the Cardinals pay, following with a two-run double to right-center. Two batters later, Andruw Jones capped off the inning with an RBI double down the left field line to make it 7-2.

Smoltz retired 10 batters in a row from the fourth through the seventh inning. The Cardinals' only runs came on a two-run double by Chris Duncan in the third inning.

"He pitched a super ballgame," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He was dynamite. He was dominating, I thought. And the bats came alive once again. And we played well defensively."

The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the third. Johnson doubled to lead off the inning and Mark Teixeira followed with a walk. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch by Wells before crossing the plate on Brian McCann's two-run double.








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

    BATTERIES: ATL - JOHN SMOLTZ, RON MAHAY (9TH), PETER MOYLAN (9TH) AND BRIAN
    MCCANN
    STL - KIP WELLS, TODD WELLEMEYER (5TH), TROY PERCIVAL
    (6TH), TYLER JOHNSON (8TH), RUSS SPRI

    Aug 25 12:22 AM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ANDRUW JONES SCORED MARK TEIXEIRA.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, A JONES ON SECOND, B MCCANN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 7
    ST LOUIS 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: Y ESCOBAR (.323, 1-FOR-1, BB)

    Braves vs. CardinalsAug 24 10:50 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK TEIXEIRA SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, M TEIXEIRA ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 6
    ST LOUIS 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: B MCCANN (.275, 1-FOR-2, 2 RBI)

    Braves vs. CardinalsAug 24 10:44 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CHIPPER JONES SCORED WILLIE HARRIS AND KELLY
    JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C JONES ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    ST LOUIS 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M TEIXEIRA (.293, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Braves vs. CardinalsAug 24 10:42 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY KELLY JOHNSON SCORED YUNEL ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K JOHNSON ON FIRST, W HARRIS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 3
    ST LOUIS 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C JONES (.335, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. CardinalsAug 24 10:41 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CHRIS DUNCAN SCORED KIP WELLS AND DAVID ECKSTEIN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C DUNCAN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 2
    ST LOUIS 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.319, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. CardinalsAug 24 10:27 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED KELLY JOHNSON AND MARK
    TEIXEIRA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, B MCCANN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 2
    ST LOUIS 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.299, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. CardinalsAug 24 10:16 PM