|Smoltz gets milestone win against close friend|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 24 May 2007 21:05|
Smoltz threw seven shutout innings to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 win over Tom Glavine and the New York Mets on Thursday night.
Smoltz said Wednesday he'd treat his third start of the season against his friend and former teammate as a normal game, but the milestone changed that.
``I tried to approach games like this as just another day, but when I walked out there, it was different,'' Smoltz said.
``I downplayed it as long as I possibly could,'' Smoltz said. ``I tried not to think about it in any different fashion, but it was just a different game.''
It was different because so much was on the line, including Smoltz's 200th career win, but it was the same because the Atlanta ace extended his string of strong starts this season.
Making his third start of the season against Glavine, his Atlanta teammate from 1988-2002, Smoltz (7-2) became the NL's first seven-game winner. He gave up seven hits without a walk and struck out five.
The Turner Field crowd of 36,660 gave Smoltz a standing ovation after the game. Smoltz lifted his cap to acknowledge the crowd.
Smoltz, who has 15 postseason wins, said he's experienced a similar thrill in a regular-season game only once.
``The first time I came out of the bullpen and the crowd went nuts,'' he said. ``Euphoria. It felt like that again.''
The Braves won two of three in the series and improved to 6-3 against the Mets this season while cutting New York's lead in the NL East to 1 1/2 games.
``We're not concerned,'' said New York's Shawn Green. ``We're in first place. It's going to be a battle all year.''
In other NL games, it was: St. Louis 3, Pittsburgh 1; Washington 4, Cincinnati 3; Arizona 9, Houston 1; Florida 5, Philadelphia 1, 11 innings; and Chicago 3, San Diego 1.
Johnson led off the game with a single up the middle and later scored on Jeff Francoeur's fly ball to center. The Braves pushed the lead to 2-0 when Diaz led off the second with a homer into the Atlanta bullpen beyond the right-field wall.
Glavine (5-2) failed in his bid for his 296th career win, despite giving up only five hits and two runs in six innings for the Mets, who were denied their sixth straight series win.
``I'm happy for him personally,'' Glavine said. ``I'm not happy it came against us and against me.''
Smoltz is 17-13 with 24 saves in his career against the Mets. This year, he is 2-0 in three matchups with Glavine. The Braves won all three.
Cardinals 3, Pirates 1
Braden Looper won for the third time in four starts and Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak to 15 games, helping host St. Louis finish off a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh.
Looper (6-3) allowed only two other hits in six innings. He had thrown 21 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings against the Pirates before Bautista's homer, and is 5-0 with a 1.41 ERA in five day starts.
Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny (5-3) left the game after Aaron Miles' smash up the middle with one out in the sixth deflected off his thumb. X-rays were negative and the left-hander is not expected to miss a turn in the rotation.
Nationals 4, Reds 3
At Cincinnati, Dmitri Young went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Mike Bacsik got his first win in almost three years and Washington won for the fourth time in five games.
Cristian Guzman homered and Bacsik (1-0) scattered four hits over his first seven innings before giving up Alex Gonzalez's two-run homer with two outs in the eighth. The left-hander earned his sixth career win and first since Aug. 4, 2004, when he was with Texas.
Matt Belisle (4-4) gave up four runs and a walk with two strikeouts. The Reds have lost 17 of their last 22 games.
Diamondbacks 9, Astros 1
At Phoenix, rookie Micah Owings struck out a season-high eight in his first complete game, and Arizona sent Houston to its fifth straight loss.
Chris Snyder homered and Eric Byrnes and Orlando Hudson tripled for the light-hitting Diamondbacks, who matched a season high for runs.
Owings (3-1) retired 18 of the last 20 batters. He allowed a run and nine hits with a walk.
Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez (2-4) gave up eight runs - five earned - in five innings.
Marlins 5, Phillies 4, 11 innings
At Miami, Miguel Cabrera doubled off the scoreboard to score Hanley Ramirez from first base and Florida prevailed in a game that included a bench-clearing confrontation.
Tempers flared in the fourth inning, when the Marlins' Dontrelle Willis began shouting at the Philadelphia dugout. The benches and bullpens emptied, and at least one punch was thrown by an unidentified Florida player, but there were no ejections.
Lee Gardner (1-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win for the Marlins, who won for the fifth time in six games.
Francisco Rosario (0-3) took the loss for Philadelphia, which stranded a season-high 17 runners.
Cubs 3, Padres 1
At San Diego, Derrek Lee slid home safely with the go-ahead run on the first of two run-scoring groundouts in the ninth inning for Chicago.
Lee led off with a single off Cla Meredith (1-2) and went to third on a single by Aramis Ramirez. Cliff Floyd then hit a two-hop grounder to second baseman Marcus Giles, who threw home to try and get Lee. But Lee did a hook slide around catcher Josh Bard to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. Pinch-runner Angel Pagan later scored on Ryan Theriot's groundout.
Bob Howry (2-3) pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Ryan Dempster got his 10th save in 11 chances by working a perfect ninth.