Another complete game for Smoltz, another home run for Andruw, and a series sweep for the Braves. Things are cooking right now.
The Braves took an early lead largely thanks to Furcal, who singled, stole second, and came around to score on Andruw’s single in the first, then tripled home two runs with two out in the third. They were his only two hits of the day. I may be imagining it, but it looks to me that Furcal’s shoulder problem only becomes a problem late in the game, that in his first two or three AB he usually swings well.
Smoltz took a perfect game into the fifth, then allowed a solo homer to Palmeiro for the Orioles’ only run. Andruw got it back in the sixth with another monster blast, home run number 24. The Braves broke it open against Steve Reed in the eighth. Marcus doubled (his 22nd of the year) leading off, then stole third. Andruw struck out, but after LaRoche was intentionally walked the floodgates opened; Betemit singled home Marcus, Langerhans singled to load the bases, McCann singled home LaRoche and Betemit, and Smoltz doubled in Langerhans, though McCann was thrown out at the plate. John gave up a couple of hits in the ninth but pitched around it. He threw 118 pitches, 79 strikes, and really should have been lifted before pitching the ninth, but Bobby defers to him, of course. He struck out seven, allowed five hits, and didn’t walk any.
McCann seems to have settled in as John’s personal catcher and had three hits, raising his average to .348. Langerhans, Betemit, Andruw, and Furcal all had two-hit days, and the only Brave not to get a hit was Kelly Johnson, breaking his streak.
The Braves play a four-game series at Florida now, a tough assignment. Horacio will be able to go against Moehler starting off tomorrow on Turner South. The Natspos are losing, as are the Phillies, so it could be a productive day.