Smoltz Dominates Cleveland For His 8th Win Of The Season

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Edgar Renteria couldn't be contained, a day after barely getting the ball out of the infield.
Renteria went 5-for-5 with a a homer and two RBIs to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.
"Some days you feel good," he said. "I was seeing the ball good and every swing felt perfect."
Renteria singled in the first, third and seventh, doubled in the fifth and homered in the ninth for his third career five-hit game. He last did it on Aug. 8, 2004, while he was playing for St. Louis against the New York Mets.
A night earlier, Renteria got one ball out of the infield in five plate appearances.
"I felt like I'd never swung the bat before," he said of his Friday night performance.
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox lobbied for his shortstop, who raised his batting average from .316 to .329., to make the National League All-Star team.
"For me, he's got to be on it," Cox said. "I don't know when he's ever going to if he doesn't make it this year."
Renteria's first three hits came off starter Paul Byrd (6-3). The last two were off reliever Rafael Perez.
"I wasn't thinking about (a fifth hit)," he said. "I took it like I was 0-for-4."
John Smoltz (8-3) allowed two runs in six innings, a night after missing a start to rest his sore right shoulder.
Willie Harris drove in two runs, and broke a 2-2 tie with an RBI single in the Braves' three-run fifth.
Casey Blake extended his hitting streak to 25 games with a third-inning single. It's the longest hitting streak in the majors this season, tying Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.
Smoltz struck out seven, including five straight in the first and second innings, while walking none.
Smoltz left his start in Milwaukee on May 29 in the fourth inning when he felt a twinge in the shoulder after slipping while throwing a warmup pitch. Smoltz started on June 5 -- two days later than his regular turn -- and allowed two runs in six innings in a 5-1 loss to Florida. He then decided to skip his next start entirely.
Asked if felt comfortable in his return, Smoltz said, "I don't know if comfortable would be the word I would use. I would say grateful would be more like it, grateful for Renteria and the runs we scored."
Except for a shaky third inning -- when the Indians scored twice and had four hits -- the 40-year-old veteran was in control in posting his first win since May 24 and the 201st of his career.
After Grady Sizemore's bloop double in the first, Smoltz struck out the next five hitters, a streak that ended when Trot Nixon lined out to end the second.
"I had to grind a lot more on every pitch than I normally do," Smoltz said. "I want to get to the point where six innings is just the starting point and eight innings becomes the norm."
Byrd, who pitched for the Braves in 1997-98 and again in 2004, knows Smoltz well.
"He was throwing 95 miles per hour, with 89 mile per hour sliders from hell," Byrd said. "I would love for my shoulder to feel bad and take that out to the mound. He shut us down. He had great stuff. That was the dominating John Smoltz we know."
Byrd allowed five runs and 10 hits in five innings. The right-hander, who hasn't won since May 30, has allowed 31 hits in 15 innings over his last three starts.
"The last start I made some bad pitches, I didn't have it," Byrd said. "Today I thought I threw the ball well, but don't have anything to show for it."
Kelly Johnson led off the fifth with a triple to center and scored when Harris beat out an infield hit behind second base. After Harris stole second, Renteria's double gave Atlanta a 4-2 lead. Brian McCann's groundout scored the third run.
Johnson's single and a groundout by Harris gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the third. Scott Thorman started the inning with a double and stopped at third on Yunel Escobar's single. Harris' single to right scored Johnson and Escobar came home on Harris' ground ball.
Josh Barfield's single and Kelly Shoppach's double put runners at second and third. Sizemore's single scored Barfield and Shoppach scored when David Dellucci hit into a double play.


WILX.com is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards.

See full commenting rules...
powered by Disqus
WILX 500 American Road Lansing, MI 48911 517-393-0110
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 8035752 - wilx.com/a?a=8035752