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'Rusty' Smoltzie Lifts Braves Past Reds

John Smoltz said he was "a little rusty" Tuesday night.

"I felt like I hadn't been out there in 12 days with the short day in Cincinnati," Smoltz said after becoming Atlanta's fifth starter with at least 10 victories as the Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2.

Andruw Jones hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning to back Smoltz (10-2).

"I was up a lot tonight," said Smoltz. "But I made some pitches when I had to."

Smoltz' short day in Cincinnati came last Wednesday when he was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing a play at third base. He allowed two runs and seven hits in joining Greg Maddux (14), Tom Glavine (14), Kevin Millwood (12) and Denny Neagle (11) with 10 or more victories this year.

Smoltz, who had a career-high three hits, walked two and struck out four in seven innings.

"It shows what this organization has done with pitching," Smoltz said of Atlanta having five pitchers with 10-plus wins for the first time for the franchise since the Milwaukee Braves did so in 1955. "We're as good as our defense and we're as good as our bullpen."

"Atlanta record?" manager Bobby Cox asked. "That's great. It shows you how hard it is to do that. That's pretty darn good. All the starters have done good this year."

Jones met reliever Scott Sullivan (3-5) with his 17th homer of the year, leading off with a drive into the left-field seats. Atlanta has won three in a row and Cincinnati's three-game winning streak ended.

"I just got a good pitch to hit," Jones said. "He left me a pitch right over the middle."

Kerry Ligtenberg pitched the ninth for his 17th save.

"He's always been tough on us," Reds manager Jack McKeon said of Smoltz. "He knows how to get out of those jams. He's not going to walk many guys."

Atlanta added another run in the seventh on singles by Smoltz and Walt Weiss and an infield groundout by pinch-hitter Tony Graffanino.

The Reds tied it at 2 in the fifth, getting four consecutive hits off Smoltz.

Willie Greene and Aaron Boone each singled to center field and Chris Stynes followed with a double into left-center, but Stynes was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple. Pitcher Steve Parris followed with a single before Smoltz got out of the inning when Pat Watkins hit into a double play.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first when Chipper Jones singled and scored from first on a double by Andres Galarraga.

Atlanta made it 2-0 in the second. Javy Lopez walked, went to third on Michael Tucker's single and scored on Andruw Jones' grounder.

Parris pitched six innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. He gave up two runs on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Note:

  • Galarraga extended his hitting streak to seven games with his first-inning double and Chipper Jones' single gave him a hit in 19 of his last 23 games.
  • The Reds haven't won the season series with the Braves since going 10-8 in 1990.
  • Barry Larkin went 0-for-4 and had his hitting streak end at a season-high seven games.

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