ATLANTA -- Brian McCann's two-out single in the seventh was only Atlanta's fourth hit against Aaron Harang. With Jeff Francoeur coming up, McCann said he knew the game was not over.
"He's been doing it since he was 12," McCann said of Francoeur, his roommate and childhood friend in the Duluth area near Atlanta.
"There's just something about him," McCann said. "No one knows what it is, but when the game is on the line, not many are better than Francoeur. He has a flair for the dramatic."
Francoeur's home gave him 35 RBI with two outs this season. He began the day tied with Boston's David Ortiz for the major league lead with 33.
"I don't know what it is," Francoeur said of his production with two outs. "It's something I pride myself in. Obviously it's being at the right place at the right time. I really wanted to get up that inning. I like to be up in those situations."
Harang was working on a three-hit shutout through six innings before the Braves broke through for their sixth win in nine games on the homestand.
Francoeur's homer skipped over the top of the center-field wall, giving the Braves a 2-1 lead and capping an emotional day for the second-year player and his family. Earlier Saturday, Francoeur attended the funeral for his maternal grandfather.
"It was a big night for me after all I've been through today," Francoeur said. "It was a glum day. You kind of sit out there in the outfield, to be honest with you, your mind isn't 100 percent on baseball. You feel kind of lacking. To be able to do something like that was exciting."
Added Francoeur of his family: "Hopefully I did a little something good for them tonight."
After Francoeur's homer, Adam LaRoche hit a fly ball into shallow left field which shortstop Felipe Lopez lost in the lights, and the ball dropped in for a double. Harang issued an intentional walk to Ryan Langerhans before Smoltz spoiled the strategy with a run-scoring single up the middle, his second hit of the game, for the 3-1 lead.
Smoltz (6-5) won his second straight start, giving up six hits and one run in eight innings. He matched his season high with 10 strikeouts and issued only one walk.
"He's as good as anybody in the league," Reds left fielder Austin Kearns said.
Smoltz said he couldn't remember facing a power hitter like Adam Dunn as a No. 2 hitter.
"Their lineup is loaded, you have to find a way to pitch around them," Smoltz said.
Smoltz retired the Reds in order in the seventh and eighth innings. He threw 120 pitches in eight innings, and Ken Ray got the final three outs for his fifth save in eight chances.
Harang (9-6) earned his NL-leading fourth complete game but was denied his attempt to become the first Reds pitcher with 10 wins at the All-Star break since Jimmy Haynes in 2002. Harang gave up nine hits and four runs in eight innings.
"That was a tough one to take," Harang said. "That one inning hurt me. I tried not to make any mistakes. One mistake can kill you in a game like this, and I made a mistake to Francoeur."
Harang said Francoeur hit a slider, down and away.
"I didn't think it was that bad," Harang said.
The Reds fell to three games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central and only one game ahead of third-place Milwaukee.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Ken Griffey Jr. hit a one-out double over the reach of Andruw Jones in center field. Griffey moved to third on a single by Austin Kearns and scored on Scott Hatteberg's fly ball to deep center.
A call by first base umpire Mark Wegner hurt the Braves' hopes of pulling even in the bottom of the fourth. After Marcus Giles led off with a double and Edgar Renteria walked, the Reds turned a double play on Chipper Jones' grounder to Lopez, who flipped the ball to second baseman Brandon Phillips.
Wegner called Jones out at first, but replays indicated Jones beat the throw from Phillips. Harang struck out Andruw Jones to end the inning, leaving Giles stranded at third.
Chipper Jones hit a one-out triple in the eighth, giving him 10 straight games with an extra-base hit, an Atlanta record. Jones scored on McCann's double to right for a 4-1 lead.
Francoeur's homer, his 16th, was his first since June 18. ... By striking out the side in the first inning, Smoltz passed David Cone for 20th place on the all-time list. Smoltz began the night one strikeout behind Cone's 2,668. ... Edgar Renteria's first-inning single extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
|Players of the Game|
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|Ryan Freel, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||3||1||.294|
|Adam Dunn, LF||4||0||0||0||0||3||1||.237|
|Ken Griffey Jr., CF||3||1||1||0||1||1||0||.256|
|Austin Kearns, RF||4||0||2||0||0||1||1||.273|
|Scott Hatteberg, 1B||3||0||1||1||0||0||1||.310|
|Felipe Lopez, SS||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.268|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.310|
|Jason LaRue, C||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.188|
|Aaron Harang, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.175|
|2B - Ken Griffey Jr. (12, Smoltz), Jason LaRue (3, Smoltz)|
|SF - Scott Hatteberg (4)|
|RBI - Scott Hatteberg (28)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - LaRue-F. Lopez, F. Lopez-B. Phillips-Hatteberg|
|Aaron Harang (L,9-6)||8||9||4||4||2||8||1||3.70|
|IBB - Langerhans by Aaron Harang|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 135-86|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 9-5|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 33|
|Marcus Giles, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.249|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.313|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.309|
|Andruw Jones, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.271|
|Brian McCann, C||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.342|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||4||1||1||2||0||1||1||.260|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||3||1||1||0||0||1||0||.251|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.243|
|John Smoltz, P||3||0||2||1||0||1||0||.147|
|Ken Ray, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|2B - Marcus Giles (17, Harang), Brian McCann (15, Harang), Adam LaRoche (21, Harang)|
|3B - Chipper Jones (2, Harang)|
|HR - Jeff Francoeur (16, Harang)|
|RBI - Brian McCann (28), Jeff Francoeur 2 (62), John Smoltz (3)|
|2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann (14), Jeff Francoeur 2 (35), John Smoltz (1)|
|CS - Edgar Renteria (4, 2nd base by Harang/LaRue)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Renteria-Giles-LaRoche|
|John Smoltz (W,6-5)||8||6||1||1||1||10||0||3.60|
|Ken Ray (S,5)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||2.66|
|Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 120-85, Ken Ray 16-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 8-5|
|Batters Faced - John Smoltz 30, Ken Ray 4|
|Attendance - 44718|
|Game Time - 2:27|
|Temperature - 83|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Ed Montague|