ATLANTA (AP) -John Smoltz passed Phil Niekro to become the Braves' strikeout leader on Sunday, fanning Arizona's Mark Reynolds in the third inning for his 2,913th career strikeout.
Smoltz began the day four behind the mark Niekro set with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves. He struck out Reynolds in the first inning, Justin Upton and pitcher Yusmeiro Petit in the second and Conor Jackson in the third to tie the mark.
Smoltz struck out Reynolds again to end the third inning.
He received an ovation as the record was announced, and he tipped his cap to the fans as he entered the dugout.
Niekro began his major league career in 1964 with Milwaukee. His last full season with Atlanta was 1983. He returned for one farewell start in 1987.
Niekro, who pitched for the New York Yankees, Cleveland and Toronto after leaving Atlanta, is 10th on the career list with 3,342 strikeouts. Former Braves pitcher Greg Maddux, now with San Diego, is 11th.
Niekro holds the team record with 266 career wins. Tom Glavine is second with 242. Smoltz entered Sunday's start third with 203.
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