John Smoltz pitched well and lost Wednesday. He would have been much happier with a poor outing and a cheap win.
"We have to get some wins, anyway, anyhow," said Smoltz (8-5). "It doesn't matter if I pitch well and we lose. I'd rather pitch bad and have us win the game. This is frustrating."
Smoltz, 0-3 during the drought, was on the disabled list from July 5-24 because of a strained right elbow. He allowed one earned run and five hits in seven innings, but Boone's wild throw on a possible double-play ball in the third set up two unearned runs.
Todd Ritchie (10-7) gave up two runs and five hits in eight innings. He has won three of his last four decisions and leads the Pirates' staff in wins.
"He's not a surprise any more," Pirates manager Gene Lamont said. "He's proven himself to be a quality major league pitcher."
Mike Williams pitched the ninth for his 16th save.
Williams got a big assist from shortstop Abraham Nunez, who made a spectacular play to throw out Boone to start the ninth. Nunez went into the hole to grab the ball, scrambled to hi feet and threw to first to get Boone, who made a headfirst dive for the bag.
"That was very important," Lamont said. "If that gets by for a hit, who knows what happens in that inning?"
The strong pitching by the two teams led to an elapsed game time of just 1 hour, 48 minutes.
"I knew it was quick but I didn't know it was that quick," Ritchie said.
Braves manager Bobby Cox sat out the first game of his two-game suspension, imposed by the NL for excessive arguing. Bench coach Pat Corrales ran the club in his absence.
Ritchie singled to open the third and Martin hit a grounder to Boone, who threw the ball into left field. Nunez bunted home a run and Brian Giles followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Greg Myers led off the Braves' fifth with his fifth home run to complete the scoring.
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