John Smoltz pitched another complete game, his 3rd complete game in his last 4 starts. It was his 2nd consecutive 5 hitter.
It's the first time since 1992 that he's gone 8+ innings in 5 straight starts, but you know he's been so horrible since then. :) (just kidding)
Smoltz (8-5) allowed just one run on a Rafael Palmeiro solo homer in the 5th. He allowed just the 5 hits, didn't walk anyone, and struck out 7. After passing his hero and 1991 World Series Game 7 opponent Jack Morris in his last start, he passed Don Drysdale today on the all-time strikeout list.
I noticed that Smoltz didn't look particularly comfortable on the mound all day, like he was fighting through some pain. The Baltimore hitters couldn't tell. Marcus Giles fouled a ball off of his foot in the 8th, but stayed in the game, doubled, stole a base, and scored, although he was hobbling.
Andruw Jones got the scoring started in the 1st with an RBI single. He later hit a solo homer in the 6th, his MLB-leading 24th home run. He was 2-4.
Rafael Furcal hit a 2 run triple in the 3rd, and the Braves tacked on 4 more runs in the 8th inning off former Brave Steve Reed, who looked like he needs to retire. Speaking of former Braves, Eli Marrero pinch-hit in the 8th inning and got a nice hand from the crowd.
Offensive contributors other than Andruw were: Brian McCann, who was 3-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Ryan Langerhans was 2-4 and scored 2 times. Rafael Furcal was 2-5 with the triple, scored a run, and stole his NL-leading 25th base.
The Braves completed the sweep of the Orioles for their 3rd straight series win. As I type this, Washington is tied in the 8th inning. A loss would put the Braves only 3 games out of first. Philadelphia is losing by 2 in the 7th inning, although it looks like they're in a rally. A loss would give the Braves a 2.5 game lead over Philadelphia for the Wild Card. Florida is winning 1-0 in the 8th and could pass Philadelphia with a win. The Mets are 3.5 behind the Braves and 7 behind the Nationals.
The Braves head down to Miami for a series with Florida. Horacio Ramirez will
start tomorrow, and he'll face Brian Moehler in a rematch from their last start.