PITTSBURGH – John Smoltz won his fifth straight decision, Adam LaRoche homered twice and the Atlanta Braves broke a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Marcus Giles added three hits with an RBI and scored once to help the Braves end Pittsburgh’s season-best five-game winning streak. Smoltz (9-5) pitched seven strong innings and hasn’t lost since June 13.

LaRoche, who has hit two homers in a game three times in the past three weeks, had solo shots into the right-field seats off starter Ian Snell (9-7) in the third and sixth. It was LaRoche’s sixth career multihomer game and fourth this season.

Snell struck out 10 and Jeromy Burnitz hit an RBI double for the new-look Pirates, who made four trades Monday before the non-waiver deadline. They added four new players to the roster – three of whom saw action.

Xavier Nady started at first base in his Pittsburgh debut and went 1-for-4 with a single. He also made a nice defensive play in the seventh inning.

Primarily an outfielder during his major league career, Nady was acquired in a deal with the New York Mets. He played 44 games at first base for San Diego last season.

Pirates center fielder and leadoff hitter Chris Duffy went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts after being recalled from Triple-A, and reliever Josh Sharpless made his major league debut in the eighth. He walked three batters but did not allow a run.

Smoltz yielded one run and six hits while walking none and striking out six.

He outpitched Snell, who went seven innings and allowed four runs and nine hits. Snell tied a career high for strikeouts, a mark he set June 5 at Colorado.

Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 21 opportunities this season. It was his third in three tries with the Braves.

Wickman allowed an unearned run in the ninth on Ronny Paulino’s RBI single before striking out pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez with two on to end it.

LaRoche’s 21st home run came after Snell retired his first six batters – four on strikeouts.

Giles made it 2-0 with two outs in the fourth when he scored from second on Brian McCann’s pop fly to shallow left that dropped for an RBI single when Jason Bay couldn’t reach it in time.

Burnitz cut the lead in half the next half-inning when his two-out double high off the right-field wall scored Freddy Sanchez, who had also doubled.

Giles had an RBI double in the fifth.

Notes: LaRoche also had two home runs July 14 and July 24. … Pirates starters have pitched into the seventh inning in five of their last six games. … Snell is averaging 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings, moving into the top 10 in the NL in that category. … This was the first meeting between the teams in exactly one year.

AP-ES-08-01-06 2150EDT



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.