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Smoltz looks to keep Braves afloat in NL wild card

Sep 21, 2006 - 1:36 PM Atlanta (74-78) at Colorado (71-81) 8:35 pm EDT

DENVER (Ticker) - The door is closing on the Atlanta Braves' playoff aspirations. They hope 10 games is enough to keep it open.

The Braves face off against the Colorado Rockies in the opener of a four-game series on Wednesday.

Atlanta, which has won five of its last seven contests, is five games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies in the National League wild card chase. It has made the postseason every year since the 1991 campaign, including a World Series title in 1995.

Braves veteran John Smoltz (13-9, 3.71 ERA) put an end to his season high-tying three-game slide last Saturday, yielding just one run with eight strikeouts in eight innings against Florida. The righthander has won only once in his past five games away from home.

The 39-year-old Smoltz is 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 29 career outings, including 15 starts, against the Rockies. He will be making his first appearance against them this season.

Byung-Hyun Kim (8-11, 5.30) takes the hill for Colorado. Kim allowed three runs and nine hits in seven frames during his last start, a 5-1 defeat vs. Arizona on Friday.

The Korean is 0-0 with three saves and a 6.60 ERA in 12 lifetime meetings - just one start - vs. the Braves.

The Rockies have won six of seven games at Coors Field, outscoring their opponents by 79-46 over that stretch.

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