Braves 2, Padres 0

0

ATLANTA (AP) – John Smoltz gave Atlanta’s starting staff its first win of the year with his 16th career shutout and the Braves beat Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres 2-0 Saturday night.

Peavy (1-2) gave up only four hits and two runs in seven innings as the Braves were held under four runs for the first time this year. He struck out eight batters and issued two walks, one intentional.

Smoltz (1-1) was better, giving up only four hits and two walks. He recorded his first shutout since June 21, 2005, a 5-0 win over Florida. He pitched his 51st complete game, his first since June 26, 2005, against Baltimore.

The Braves were in need of a strong outing by a starting pitcher. Through their first 11 games, no Atlanta starter had a win and they had an 8.17 ERA ranked last in the majors.

It is the first time in franchise history the Braves have played their first 11 games without a win from a starting pitcher.

But the Braves stayed close to .500 by leading the majors with 74 runs through 11 games. They set another franchise first by scoring four or more runs in each of the first 11 games.

After all the early season offense, the Braves finally returned to their norm of the last 14 years.

Smoltz, the only player left on the roster from the 1991 team that started the string of 14 straight division championships, was the logical choice to provide the Braves’ first quality start.

He was the first starter of the year to last longer than seven innings. Smoltz allowed only one baserunner past second base. In the third inning, Peavy reached on an infield hit, moved to second on Dave Roberts’ bunt and advanced to third on a long fly ball to center by Termel Sledge. But Brian Giles lined out to right field to end the inning.

Smoltz had the help of some strong defensive plays.

Andruw Jones made a diving catch while running toward the infield to catch a sinking liner hit by Vinny Castilla in the fifth inning.

Later in the inning, Jones had to race to the warning track to catch up with a long drive hit by Peavy. Still running at full speed, Jones had to reach up for the catch.

The Braves gave Smoltz an early 1-0 lead in the second inning with Adam LaRoche’s third home run. He hit a 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall for the opposite-field homer.

Peavy gave up only one more hit – a third-inning single by Edgar Renteria – until the seventh inning.

Peavy hit Jones with a pitch to lead off the inning. Jones stole second and moved to third on an infield hit by LaRoche. Jeff Francoeur followed with an RBI single.

With one out and runners on second and third, Peavy issued an intentional walk to load the bases. Peavy struck out Smoltz on three pitches and ended the inning on Marcus Giles’ fly ball to center.

Notes: Rookie Tony Pena replaced Renteria at shortstop to open the seventh inning. Renteria appeared to grimace in pain while swinging in the bottom of the sixth inning. He suffered a strained rib cage and is day to day. … LaRoche hit his first homer since April 4. … Josh Barfield stole his third base of the season in the fifth inning.

AP-ES-04-15-06 2118EDT

Advertisement
SHARE