Atlanta at Washington

W: J. Smoltz (2-1) L: J. Williams (0-3)
S: B. Wickman (4)
HR: ATL - C. Jones (4)   WAS - None

Smoltz on brink of passing Cy Young; Braves down Nationals

CBS wire reports

WASHINGTON -- John Smoltz was angry at himself for letting a lead shrink.

He was upset by what he called a "rough infield," his explanation for teammates' miscues.

So when he left what would be a 6-4 victory for his Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals in the seventh inning Tuesday night, Smoltz threw a bit of a tantrum, taking out some of that frustration on the visiting dugout at RFK Stadium.

"I am disappointed in myself," Smoltz said after moving within one strikeout of Cy Young and within five wins of 200. "I am glad we won, because I am fearful what I would have done to myself."

He didn't allow an earned run until the seventh, Chipper Jones homered, and Kelly Johnson had a career-high four hits.

The Braves made three errors, two by shortstop Edgar Renteria, and squandered most of a four-run lead but held on against the Nationals, who wore Virginia Tech baseball caps as a tribute to the victims of Monday's shooting rampage at the school.

The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., will get the hat worn by Chris Snelling, whose RBI triple came on Smoltz's 102nd and last pitch of the evening. Smoltz gave up four runs -- two earned -- in his six-plus innings, en route to his 195th career victory across 20 major league seasons.

He was able to work with the lead throughout, because Jerome Williams (0-3) gave up three runs in the first inning, and it was 4-0 after the top of the third.

Smoltz allowed six hits, walked one and struck out two, raising his total to 2,797 Ks, one shy of tying Young for 18th on baseball's career list.

Relievers Oscar Villareal, Rafael Soriano and Bob Wickman got the final nine outs, with Wickman earning his fourth save.

"Fortunately," Smoltz said, "the bullpen was huge. ... That's the difference between this year's ball club and last year's ball club."

After Brian Schneider's single and Snelling's triple made it 5-3 in the seventh, Villareal got Austin Kearns to hit a bouncer to third base, but Jones couldn't field it cleanly and was charged with an error. Felipe Lopez then singled up the middle to make it 5-4 and put runners on first and second with the Nos. 2-4 hitters in the lineup coming to the plate.

"We had the right guys up," Nationals manager Manny Acta said.

But Ronnie Belliard failed to get down a sacrifice bunt against Villareal, then struck out. Soriano entered and struck out Ryan Zimmerman in a 10-pitch at-bat, then got Dmitri Young to fly out to left on the 12th pitch he saw.

"He was throwing hard, hard, hard," Zimmerman said. "I mean, he throws hard."

Atlanta had lost three of its previous four games, including two in a row to Washington.

The Nationals, meanwhile, had won three of four after a 1-8 start to the season. During that nine-game span, the Nationals fell behind by at least 3-0 in every outing -- and that happened again Tuesday.

Then, when Washington went down 1-2-3 against Smoltz in the bottom half of the first, it meant the Nationals have been outscored 19-0 in first innings this season.

The game's first four batters singled, producing two runs: Johnson, Renteria, Jones and Andruw Jones. After Williams walked Brian McCann on four pitches to load the bases with no outs, Jeff Francoeur's sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

Scott Thorman popped out, and center fielder Ryan Church made a sliding, backhanded catch of Ryan Langerhans' blooper to end the inning.

Still, the Braves and Smoltz were ahead early.

Facing Smoltz is tough enough. Facing Smoltz when he's holding a lead?

"He has about seven pitches he throws, and he throws them all for strikes. And when he's got a comfortable lead, I mean, this guy's been there, done that. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer," Dmitri Young said. "So giving a guy like that any kind of cushion just makes it easier for him."


  • Chipper Jones hit his fourth homer of the season; it came off RHP Jon Rauch in the eighth.
  • Langerhans went 0-for-4, making him 2-for-25 (.080).
  • Williams went five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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With 2,797 K's, John Smoltz moves within one of Cy Young. The veteran also earns his 195th victory.  (AP)
With 2,797 K's, John Smoltz moves within one of Cy Young. The veteran also earns his 195th victory. (AP)

Players of the Game

C. Snelling
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0

C. Jones
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B5240000 .222
Edgar Renteria, SS4111112 .300
Chipper Jones, 3B4221112 .313
Andruw Jones, CF5011024 .188
Brian McCann, C4121100 .318
Jeff Francoeur, RF3012100 .261
Scott Thorman, 1B4000006 .154
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
    Bob Wickman, P0000000 .000
Ryan Langerhans, LF4000013 .080
John Smoltz, P3000011 .000
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .000
    Craig Wilson, 1B1000010 .174
2B - Brian McCann (4, Williams)
HR - Chipper Jones (4, Rauch)
SF - Jeff Francoeur (1)
RBI - Edgar Renteria (8), Chipper Jones (8), Andruw Jones (8), Brian McCann (9), Jeff Francoeur 2 (12)
2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann (2)
SB - Kelly Johnson (2, 3rd base off Williams/Schneider)
Team LOB - 9
E - Chipper Jones (3, Misplayed grounder), Edgar Renteria 2 (2, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz (W,2-1) 6642120 3.12
Oscar Villarreal (H,1) 0.1100010 1.42
Rafael Soriano (H,2) 1.2000020 4.26
Bob Wickman (S,4) 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 98-70, Oscar Villarreal 10-6, Rafael Soriano 33-25, Bob Wickman 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 9-8, Oscar Villarreal 1-0
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 26, Oscar Villarreal 3, Rafael Soriano 5, Bob Wickman 3
Washington Nationals
Felipe Lopez, SS5021000 .288
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4000013 .313
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4110012 .207
Dmitri Young, 1B4010002 .298
Ryan Church, CF4000020 .313
Robert Fick, RF3000012 .077
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
   a- D'Angelo Jimenez, PH1000000 .111
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
Brian Schneider, C4110000 .186
Chris Snelling, LF3221100 .269
Jerome Williams, P0000000 .000
   b- Kory Casto, PH1000001 .172
    Micah Bowie, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Wagner, P0000000 .000
    Austin Kearns, RF2000000 .231
a-flied out for Colome in the 8th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Williams in the 5th
3B - Chris Snelling (1, Smoltz)
SH - Jerome Williams (1)
RBI - Felipe Lopez (2), Chris Snelling (6)
Team LOB - 6
E - Felipe Lopez (3, Throwing), Brian Schneider (1, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Jerome Williams (L,0-3) 5744240 5.63
Micah Bowie 1111000 3.68
Ryan Wagner 0.2100110 5.63
Jesus Colome 1.1100120 2.61
Jon Rauch 1111001 5.19
WP - Ryan Wagner (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jerome Williams 92-52, Micah Bowie 10-7, Ryan Wagner 20-8, Jesus Colome 24-13, Jon Rauch 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jerome Williams 6-5, Micah Bowie 3-0, Jesus Colome 1-1, Jon Rauch 2-1
Batters Faced - Jerome Williams 24, Micah Bowie 4, Ryan Wagner 4, Jesus Colome 6, Jon Rauch 4
Game Information
Attendance - 17791
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 53
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Randy Marsh