Arizona at Atlanta

Diamondbacks-Braves called due to rain; two on slate for Sat.

CBS wire reports

ATLANTA -- John Smoltz was ready to throw the first pitch as late as 9:15 p.m. Friday night.

Instead, his 12th start was pushed back to Saturday afternoon in the first game of the Atlanta Braves' split doubleheader with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

A two-hour rain delay led to the first postponement at Turner Field since last Aug. 29, when Hurricane Katrina was moving through the Gulf of Mexico. The rainout was the eighth in the ballpark's nine-year history.

"The smartest thing to do is play two, for both teams," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "You don't want to lose your starter and then have to play two."

Smoltz (4-2) will oppose Enrique Gonzalez (0-0), a rookie making his second career start at 1 p.m. John Thomson (2-4) faces Claudio Vargas (5-2) in the nightcap, scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

Gonzalez allowed just three hits, one run and one walk in his debut Sunday at Cincinnati. The right-hander struck out four before closer Jose Valverde took the loss.

Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin thought the two-hour delay was tough on the psyche of Gonzalez, who has never faced the Braves.

"It's the anticipation part," Melvin said. "They really thought they would play it, but you can't control the weather."

Arizona beat the Braves 2-1 in the first game of the series Thursday. The victory kept the Diamondbacks one-half game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.

Atlanta began the night in second place and five games behind the New York Mets in the NL East. Rain also postponed New York's home game Friday with the San Francisco Giants.

The Braves were 3½ games back of the Mets after sweeping a three-game series against the Cubs in Chicago last weekend. However, Atlanta began a 10-game homestand with two straight losses to the Dodgers before a 9-3 win Wednesday.

Smoltz has made 12 career appearances, including five starts, against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander is 2-1 with one save and a 3.12 ERA in 34 2/3 innings against Arizona.

Thomson is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in 11 career appearances, all starts, when facing the Diamondbacks. The right-hander did not get a decision after allowing seven runs -- six earned -- eight hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings of 10-9 loss in Phoenix on May 19.

Vargas is 3-0 with a 3.98 ERA in 12 games against the Braves.

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