ATLANTA - Less than two weeks from his 40th birthday, John Smoltz looks as dominant as ever.
Smoltz pitched seven shutout innings for his first win over the Dodgers in more than eight years, and the Atlanta Braves beat Los Angeles 4-0 in a matchup of first-place teams Friday night.
"That was vintage Smoltz," manager Bobby Cox said. "My goodness."
Smoltz (4-1) escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the fourth on the way to his first win over Los Angeles since April 19, 1999. He picked up his 197th career win and, the way things are going, figures to have a shot at No. 200 shortly after he turns 40 on May 15.
"I'm not going to go out there and strike out guys like I did in years past," Smoltz said. "But I'm going to be on the attack. Hopefully what I've learned to do is not give in to certain circumstances."
Brian McCann returned to the lineup with a two-run double and Jeff Francoeur drove in Atlanta's other runs with a fifth-inning single.
Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano finished off the eight-hit shutout with one scoreless inning apiece.
Brett Tomko (0-3) surrendered a season-high six walks and went to three balls on two other hitters in 4 2-3 innings. The Braves forced him to throw strikes and took advantage when he did, scoring all their runs with two outs.
CHICAGO - Derrek Lee homered, Alfonso Soriano had a key RBI double before scoring the go-ahead run against his former team and the Cubs rallied from four runs down to beat Washington.
Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano (3-2) gave up a three-run homer to Austin Kearns in a four-run first inning and lasted six innings, giving up six hits and four runs. Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth for his sixth save in as many chances.
MIAMI - Josh Willingham and Joe Borchard hit consecutive home runs to start the eighth inning to help Florida rally past San Diego.
Florida's Dontrelle Willis failed in his bid to become the National League's first six-game winner. He took a one-hitter and a 3-0 lead into the sixth, but Mike Cameron's bases-loaded triple capped a four-run inning.
ST. LOUIS - Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead two-run double in the fifth inning, and St. Louis ended a five-game losing streak.
It was the Cardinals' first home game since relief pitcher Josh Hancock's fatal accident on Sunday.
Adam Wainwright (2-2) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings in his strongest outing since winning at Houston on April 6 in his first major league start.
CINCINNATI - Troy Tulowitzki's two-out single snapped an 11th-inning tie and ended Colorado's streak of Midwest misery.
Colorado overcame Ken Griffey Jr.'s 567th career homer and another bullpen meltdown to break its 12-game losing streak in Ohio. Since the start of the 2002 season, the Rockies are 4-19 in the state, including 3-11 at Great American Ball Park.
MILWAUKEE - J.J. Hardy, Prince Fielder and Johnny Estrada all homered and Claudio Vargas gave up four singles in six innings to lead Milwaukee
Hardy had four hits to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, and drove in three runs. Fielder had four RBIs and Rickie Weeks had three hits and scored three runs.
Vargas (3-0) walked three and struck out four to win for the third time in four starts.
PHOENIX - Paul Lo Duca and Julio Franco homered against Randy Johnson to lead New York to the win.
John Maine (5-0) pitched six innings for the Mets, who won their 12th straight game at Chase Field, extending their club record for consecutive victories in a road ballpark.
Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his sixth save in six chances.
BALTIMORE - Nick Markakis singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving the Orioles a comeback victory over Cleveland.
Jay Payton homered and scored the decisive run for the Orioles, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Markakis drove in the final two runs for Baltimore, which improved to 2-14 when trailing after seven innings.
Casey Blake homered for the Indians, whose four-game winning streak ended.
NEW YORK - Yuniesky Betancourt hit a tiebreaking two-run double in an eight-run fifth inning, and Seattle ended New York's three-game winning streak.
Jose Guillen, Kenji Johjima, Betancourt and Jose Lopez - the bottom four batters in the Mariners'starting lineup - combined to go 9-for-18 with 10 RBIs as Seattle scored its most runs in three years. The first eight Mariners reached base in the fifth inning against Kei Igawa, Colter Bean (0-1) and Luis Vizcaino, a half-inning that took 30 minutes.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Nick Swisher hit a tiebreaking three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for Oakland.
Shannon Stewart walked and Mark Ellis singled off Gary Glover (0-2) with one out in the ninth. Brian Stokes replaced Glover and struck out Eric Chavez before Swisher hit a 2-2 pitch into the right-field stands.
Elijah Dukes homered for Tampa Bay.
MINNEAPOLIS - Tim Wakefield limited Minnesota to three hits in seven innings and David Ortiz homered to lead Boston to its third straight win.
Wakefield (3-3) didn't allow a runner past second base against the AL's top-hitting team. J.D. Drew tripled in the ninth and scored on Coco Crisp's single, and Jonathan Papelbon got the last three outs for his ninth save.
Carlos Silva (2-2) allowed just one run over seven innings, but got nothing from an offense that flailed helplessly at 61-mph knucklers all night.
ARLINGTON, Texas - Hank Blalock hit a two-run homer, Brandon McCarthy pitched six sharp innings and Texas snapped a five-game losing streak.
Kenny Lofton also homered and Michael Young had three hits for the Rangers, who managed only 10 runs during the skid.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Justin Verlander maintained his mastery of Kansas City and Detroit won its fifth straight.
Consistently in the 90s and sometimes reaching 100 mph with his fastball, the hard-throwing Verlander gave up seven hits and two runs in seven-plus innings.
comments powered by Disqus