Archive for Friday, May 17, 2002

Braves survive scare from Giants

Smoltz closes victory after allowing three ninth-inning runs

May 17, 2002


— John Smoltz was reminded that he can never get too comfortable as a closer.

The San Francisco Giants scored three runs in the ninth inning Thursday to close the gap, but the Atlanta Braves held on for a 5-4 victory on Thursday.

Mark DeRosa hit a tiebreaking single and Chipper Jones added a three-run double in the eighth inning to put Atlanta on top 5-1.

But Smoltz, pitching the ninth even though it wasn't a save situation, allowed a three-run homer to Benito Santiago with one out. The Giants put two runners on before Smoltz struck out David Bell and Marvin Benard to end it.

"I don't have this thing licked at all,"' Smoltz said. "I might say I have it licked, but then something comes back to put me in my place."

The Braves won two straight to split their four-game series against the Giants and move back to .500 at 21-21.

"They're all big for us," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "We've been losing too many games that we should have won."

Javy Lopez was walked by Jason Schmidt (0-1) with one out in the eighth and was replaced by pinch runner Marcus Giles. After Giles stole second, Rafael Furcal walked and DeRosa singled up the middle off Felix Rodriguez.

Gary Sheffield walked to load the bases before Jones his bases-clearing double to the right-field wall.

Atlanta starter Jason Marquis (3-2) had another strong outing coming off a 6-1 victory over the Padres on Saturday, his first start since a stint on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis.

He allowed one run and four hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and one walk.

"I felt great," Marquis said. "I got in a groove and was able to locate my fastball which is the key to my game."

Mets 3, Padres 1

San Diego Al Leiter was dominant on the road again, pitching six strong innings and driving in the go-ahead run to give New York a victory over San Dieg. The Mets have won three straight since dropping eight of nine. The Padres, who put slugger Phil Nevin on the disabled list with a sprained left elbow before the game, had their four-game winning streak snapped. Leiter (5-2) allowed just an unearned run on seven hits.

Dodgers 4, Expos 3

Los Angeles Marquis Grissom atoned for a critical error with a tying RBI double in the eighth, and pinch-hitter Chad Kreuter singled home the go-ahead run two batters later as Los Angeles beat Montreal. Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer off Kevin Brown for the Expos, who lost their fourth straight and eighth in a row on the road. Montreal starter right-hander Tomo Ohka took a 3-2 lead into the eighth.

Diamondbacks 4, Phillies 2

Phoenix Randy Johnson yielded a home run to Jimmy Rollins on the game's first pitch, then shut down Philadelphia for the next six innings to lead Arizona. Although far from his overpowering best, Johnson (7-1) struck out eight in seven innings to win for the first time in three starts. He allowed six hits, walked a season-high four and was called for a balk. The Phillies fell to 0-4 on their road trip and 3-16 away from home overall.

Rockies 10, Marlins 3

Denver Mike Hampton pitched eight innings in his second straight strong start at Coors Field and Todd Zeile homered and drove in four runs as Colorado beat Florida.

Astros 3, Pirates 1

Houston Lance Berkman tied Sammy Sosa for the major league lead with his 15th homer and Roy Oswalt struck out 11 in eight innings as Houston beat Pittsburgh. Oswalt (5-2) allowed one run and seven hits and no walks in his longest outing of the season. He struck out the last four batters he faced. Pittsburgh (19-20) has lost four of five to drop under .500 for the first time since losing the season opener to the Mets.

Reds 2, Brewers 1 (11)

Milwaukee Todd Walker's RBI single off Mike DeJean in the 11th inning gave Cincinnati a victory over Milwaukee and a four-game sweep of the Brewers. Gabe White (2-1) pitched a perfect 10th for the victory and Danny Graves pitched a perfect 11th for his 14th save in 18 chances. The Reds beat the Brewers for the seventh time in 11 days.

Late Wednesday game

Padres 2, Expos 1 (14)

San Diego Ryan Klesko, hitless in his first six at-bats, hit an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the 14th. The game lasted 4 hours, 19 minutes. The Padres, winners of four straight, started the winning rally with a leadoff single by D'Angelo Jimenez.

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