, plagued by self-doubt, wasn't sure he wanted to be on the mound.
Six scoreless innings, his longest start in more than two years, lifted Schmidt's spirits and
hit a homer and drove in four runs to lift the
Los Angeles Dodgers
5-0 on Friday night.
''Very surprising,'' Schmidt said after giving up one hit. ''I hate to say that because it doesn't sound good. ... It was
big. Every start is big for me.''
Schmidt, making only his third start of the season, may have been pitching to protect his spot in the rotation. He gave up
five hits and five runs, four earned, in three innings in a loss to Florida on Sunday. His ERA dropped from 7.88 to 4.50 with
the strong start against the Braves.
''This is the kind of pressure he has handled very well in his career,'' Dodgers manager
said. ''I'm so happy for him. ... I thought I spied his juices coming back.''
combined on a three-hitter. McDonald retired the final six batters.
Ethier hit a three-run homer in the fifth off
(5-2) and added a run-scoring double in the ninth.
Schmidt (2-1) walked five and struck out three in six innings, his longest start since going six innings for the Dodgers at
San Diego on June 5, 2007.
The right-hander missed 2008 after surgery on June 20, 2007 repaired a torn labrum and a frayed biceps tendon in his right
''Just to be out there is kind of a miracle in itself,'' the 36-year-old said. ''I wasn't sure if they wanted me to,'' Schmidt
said of the Dodgers. ''I wasn't sure if I wanted to. It ended up going a lot better than I expected.''
Sherrill, acquired from Baltimore on Wednesday, struck out the side in the seventh in his debut with the Dodgers.
After Troncoso gave up singles to
, Sherrill struck out
to load the bases. Sherrill got
on a called third strike to end the inning.
''You say he's your eighth-inning guy, but the way they were lined up tonight, the seventh inning was your most important
inning,'' Torre said of Sherrill, who was the Orioles' closer.
Jones' third-inning single was the only hit off Schmidt, who began his career by appearing in nine games on the Braves' 1995
World Series championship team.
Jones said this is a different Schmidt than the one who pitched for Pittsburgh and San Francisco after his two seasons in
''It's the first time I've ever faced him that he's not thrown me a changeup,'' Jones said. ''There's just not that much difference
between his changeup and his fastball right now. ... But his curveball is much improved.''
Hanson gave up eight hits and four runs in six innings to lose his second straight start.
reached on fifth-inning singles before scoring on Ethier's homer.
Ethier leads the Dodgers with his career-best 21 homers. He passed
for the team lead with 66 RBIs.
''Someone has to get on base for you to be able to get the RBIs,'' Ethier said. ''The guys did a good job getting on base
ahead of me.''
walked and scored on Furcal's single in the seventh, pushing the lead to 4-0.
was 1 for 4 with two strikeouts on the one-year anniversary of his trade to Los Angeles from Boston.
NOTES: Braves manager
(elbow) and SS
(bruised right wrist) were unavailable. 2B
(bruised left ankle) did not start and hit a deep fly ball to center in the ninth as a pinch-hitter. ... Cox had to change
his lineup after the team traded 1B
to Boston for 1B
started after he was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game. ... RHP
was scratched from his injury rehab start at Gwinnett with a mild groin strain. ... Sherrill filled the roster spot of RHP
, traded to Milwaukee on Friday for minor league C