Reports of Greg Maddux’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. After a first-inning double to plate a run, Greg shut the Astros out the next six innings, and Hernandez and Smoltz finished the job. Maddux’s ERA is now 5.13 after a standard Maddux performance: seven innings, five hits, one run, no walks, five strikeouts, 86 pitches, 58 strikes. Smoltz was a little shaky with his tenth save, allowing a double then a walk, but struck out the last batter to get out of trouble. Smoltz, for the season: 13 2/3 IP, 0 R, 10 H, 2 BB, 19 K. Yikes.
The Braves only had six hits of their own, but bunched them better, scoring two runs in the first and an insurance run in the sixth. Gary Sheffield drove in the first two with a single following an infield hit by Furcal and a double by Giles — the latter the Braves’ only extra-base hit. Andruw drove in Sheffield for the sixth-inning run.
The Braves got a single hit from the first six batters, but typical 0-4 performances from Vinny and the Personal Catcher. Robert Fick returned to the lineup last night, hitting sixth, with Johnny Estrada banished again to Richmond, even though the Personal Catcher is hitting .192/.222/.231.