Smoltz fastest to 40 saves as Braves down Diamondbacks


Friday, August 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



PHOENIX (AP) _ John Smoltz became the fastest pitcher to record 40 saves Thursday, closing out Tom Glavine's 15th win as the Atlanta Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 to take two out of three from the defending World Series champions.

Smoltz, the 1996 National League Cy Young pitching award winner as a starter and a former 20-game winner, has quickly turned into one of the game's best closers.

``When I think of how it's evolved, it's nice,'' Smoltz said. ``Being a starter most of my career, you obviously don't think you're going to attain anything other than starting records or numbers.''

Smoltz, who blew his first save in 26 tries in Tuesday night's series opener, replaced Glavine and got three outs to earn his 40th save in Atlanta's 114th game. Lee Smith of St. Louis was the previous fastest to 40 saves, doing it in 117 games in 1993.

``It was good to get him back out there, and nice for me personally for him to get the team save record in a game that I pitched,'' Glavine said. ``That's pretty neat, seeing as we've been around each other for so long.''

In other NL games, it was: Chicago 9, San Francisco 3; St. Louis 5, Montreal 3; Florida 4, Houston 3; Los Angeles 10, Pittsburgh 5; New York 9, Milwaukee 0; Colorado 10, Cincinnati 3; and San Diego 7, Philadelphia 4.

In Phoenix, Julio Franco and Mark De Rosa homered off Arizona starter Brian Anderson (5-8) in the final regular-season matchup of the top two teams in the National League.

Glavine (15-6) allowed four hits, struck out five, walked three and hit a batter.

``That's about as good as I've ever seen him,'' Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. ``Tommy Glavine was just too much for us today. It was just a vintage Tom Glavine game.''

Junior Spivey broke up Glavine's shutout bid with a leadoff home run in the ninth. It was Arizona's second hit since the first inning.

``I wanted the shutout more than anything,'' said Glavine, who has two complete games and one shutout this season. ``If I had given up a run before then I probably wouldn't have gone out for the ninth inning. But with a shutout, you try to go out there and ride it as long as I can.''

Cubs 9, Giants 3

In San Francisco, Sammy Sosa homered twice, including a 138-meter (461-foot) drive to straightaway center, and Barry Bonds was denied his 600th home run for the second straight day as Chicago beat San Francisco.

Matt Clement (9-8) got eight strikeouts during seven shutout innings of two-hit ball, but Sosa provided the excitement with a two-run homer in the first and the long two-run shot in the eighth against reliever Troy Brohawn giving him 35 on the year.

Bonds, whose longest homer in the park is 451 feet (135 meters), went 1-for-2 with a single, a strikeout and two walks.

Chicago scored six early runs against Livan Hernandez (7-12), then coasted the rest of the way.

Marlins 4, Astros 3

In Houston, Julian Tavarez (8-9) won for the first time in a month, and Ramon Castro ended an 0-for-10 slump with two hits and three RBIs as Florida snapped Houston's four-game winning streak.

With the score 1-all in the fifth, Pete Munro (2-2) walked Preston Wilson and Derrek Lee. Brandon Puffer relieved, retired Juan Encarnacion on a popup back to the mound, then loaded the bases with a walk to Tim Raines.

Castro, a former minor league in Houston's farm system, put Florida ahead with a two-run single.

Braden Looper got his fifth save in eight chances, giving up a two-out triple to Craig Biggio and an RBI single to Lance Berkman before retiring Jeff Bagwell on a game-ending flyout.

Mets 9, Brewers 0

In Milwaukee, Steve Trachsel scattered five hits in his first complete game and shutout of the season as New York routed Milwaukee.

Trachsel (8-7), who is 5-1 in his last nine starts, pitched his first complete game since last Oct. 3, when he blanked Pittsburgh 3-0.

Timo Perez had two triples, including one off Matt Childers with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Jamey Wright (4-11) failed in his bid to win three straight starts for the first time since last June.

Rockies 10, Reds 3

In Denver, Mike Hampton won for the first time since July 5, allowing just an unearned run in six innings as Colorado completed a three-game sweep of Cincinnati.

Hampton (6-13), who already has matched his career high for losses, had been winless in five starts since defeating San Diego on July 5. He gave up three hits, walked four and struck out two, working out of trouble in two innings.

Jimmy Haynes (12-7), who had been 5-0 in nine starts since losing to Pittsburgh on June 16, allowed five runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings.

Padres 7, Phillies 4

In San Diego, Ron Gant hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning and tied it in the eighth with a run-scoring triple to lead San Diego over Philadelphia.

Gant hit Terry Adams' 2-0 fastball 400 feet to left, capping a comeback from a 4-0 deficit. His triple, also off Adams (4-8), tied it at 4.

Tom Davey (1-0) pitched the ninth for the win.

Cardinals 5, Expos 3

In St. Louis, Matt Morris won his 13th game and St. Louis' hitters broke out of their slump as the Cardinals snapped a seven-game losing streak Thursday night.

Albert Pujols hit a two-run home run in the first and Jim Edmonds had a two-run shot in the second for the Cardinals, whose five runs in the first two innings off Britt Reames (1-3) were one more than their total in the previous four games.

St. Louis leads the NL Central by two games over the Astros and by three over the Reds, both of whom lost Thursday.

Morris (13-7) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings to win for just the third time in nine starts. Jason Isringhausen worked the last two innings for his 25th save.

Padres 7, Phillies 4

In San Diego, Ron Gant hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning and tied the scores in the eighth with a run-scoring triple to lead San Diego over Philadelphia.

Gant hit Terry Adams' 2-0 fastball 120 meters (400 feet) to left field, capping a comeback from a 4-0 deficit. His triple, also off Adams (4-8), tied it at 4-4.

Trenidad Hubbard walked to start the ninth and went to second base on Mark Kotsay's sacrifice. Adams then walked Ryan Klesko intentionally to face Phil Nevin.

Nevin hit a line drive to right field, but Bobby Abreu made a leaping catch and Hubbard advanced to third. Gant then hit his 12th homer.

Tom Davey (1-0) pitched the ninth for the win, allowing one hit and striking out two.

Adams gave up four runs on two hits with two walks in 1 2-3 innings.

Dodgers 10, Pirates 5

In Los Angeles, Adrian Beltre and Shawn Green each hit two-run homers as Los Angeles beat an error-plagued Pittsburgh.

The victory, coupled with losses by San Francisco and Arizona, put the Dodgers back in front in the wild card race by a half-game over the Giants. Los Angeles moved within six games of the Diamondbacks in the NL West.

Chad Kreuter doubled with one out in the sixth inning against Jimmy Anderson (8-12) and scored when Cesar Izturis hit a 2-2 pitch into right field with two outs for a 6-5 lead.

Kevin Beirne (1-0) pitched one inning for his second career victory, despite giving up a game-tying solo homer by Craig Wilson in the sixth.