BOSTON -- The way John Smoltz pitched, he didn't need all of the hitting support he received.
"That was probably the weirdest doubleheader I've ever been a part of," said Atlanta's Kelly Johnson, who fell a single short of hitting the cycle and drove in five runs in the second game. "I think we got them overall. What was it, 27-13?"
Actually, it was just 17-13, and each team had 18 hits in their wins.
But the Braves needed a win badly after losing five of six games and having to face the team with baseball's best record (29-13).
"It was maybe one of the bigger games of the year," said Smoltz (6-2). "We were staring to slip a little bit in the standings. They were running away with it, so they could play relaxed."
Boston leads the AL East by 9½ games over Baltimore. Atlanta is in second place in the NL East, 2½ games behind the New York Mets.
Smoltz earned his 199th victory and the Braves had 12 extra-base hits -- one off the franchise record -- to hand the Red Sox their worst shutout loss in 17 years. He allowed three hits and one walk and won for the first time since turning 40 last Tuesday.
"Every team's the same," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "You get that kind of starting pitching, you're going to win."
Smoltz remained unscored upon in all 20 2/3 innings he's pitched at Fenway Park. He struck out seven to move into 17th place on the career list with 2,833, one more than Mickey Lolich.
The Red Sox lost for the third time in their last 13 games. Boston's worst previous shutout loss was 16-0 to Minnesota on May 25, 1990.
Smoltz left his start last Monday after 6 2/3 innings when he dislocated his right pinkie tagging Washington's Austin Kearns. The finger felt like "a wooden block of wood" on Saturday, Smoltz said.
"I'd hate to see him with all of his fingers," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Johnson lined out to right in the ninth, missing a chance to become the second Braves player to hit for the cycle since 1910. The last to do it was Albert Hall in 1987.
But Brian McCann's two-run double in that inning gave the Braves their 12th extra-base hit, their most since they moved to Atlanta in 1966. The Milwaukee Braves had 13 against Brooklyn in 1954.
Devern Hansack (0-1) was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket before the second game and struggled from the start.
Chipper Jones hit a solo homer, his 12th of the year, in the first. The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the second on doubles by Scott Thorman and Matthew Diaz. They made it 4-0 in the fourth on Diaz's third homer and Johnson's RBI double.
Hansack left after the inning with a bruised finger on his right hand sustained when Edgar Renteria's inning-ending grounder hit it.
- The doubleheader was caused by Friday night's rainout.
- Boston planned to return Hansack to Pawtucket and call up Kason Gabbard to pitch Sunday against Tim Hudson .