led off the top of the ninth with a single against Astros closer
(1-2), DeRosa smacked a home run to left field on a full count. It was his first homer of the season and the Braves' first by a pinch hitter this season.
"That was a big hit from DeRosa," Braves manager
said. "That was a good at-bat. He hit .300 last year and for him to come up there and get that kind of home run against Wagner, (who) doesn't give up too many of those, was just tremendous for this team."
DeRosa was sent to the plate to advance Lopez with a bunt but had to swing away once he fell behind.
"I didn't do the job that I was sent up there to do," DeRosa said. "And I wasn't looking forward to bunting a 98-miles-an-hour fastball. When I tried to bunt, he threw so hard that it just reverberated the bat. When I got it to 3-2, I was looking for his fastball. If he had thrown me anything else, I would have screwed myself into the ground."
"I looked at the tape to DeRosa and I have to tip my hat to him," Wagner said. "That was impressive. I kind of wanted it down, but I got it up and on his hands a little bit. That was a pretty good pitch and he got it. Just a fastball inside."
But Smoltz, who had recorded 26 consecutive save opportunities dating to August 8, immediately gave up a single to
and a walk to
to begin the bottom of the ninth.
- who tied career highs with four hits and six RBI - made it 8-7 with a single to right field that plated Bagwell.
"I contributed more tonight than I did the entire month of April," said Berkman, who entered the game with just four RBI. "But I'm not going to get too excited about it because that was my job. I felt better at the plate tonight, but the main story is that this was a really tough loss."
Kent just beat a strong throw to third base by right fielder
on the play, putting runners at the corners. But Smoltz induced
to pop out before getting
to bounce into a double play to end the wild contest.
"Once I got Hidalgo, I really felt that I could get (Vizcaino) with a grounder or a strikeout," said Smoltz, who recorded his league-leading 11th save. "He made it awfully close, but this is a big win for us. It was a good way to cap off the series."
I probably wasn't at my best, but I felt so strong out there. It was scary and my pitches were a little bit more aggressive than I wanted them to be. My fastball was absolutely live, but it kept running away. And I guess my split was probably too hard. But we won, and we'll keep it going as long as possible."
(2-0) pitched the seventh and eighth innings to pick up the win for Atlanta, which posted its first sweep in Houston since April 21-23, 1995.
, who had gone 103-86 for Houston since 1992 before being waived on March 27, allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"(Winning this game) was a lift," Reynolds said. "There were some emotions going out there, but after I threw the first pitch it was just like any other game."
It was the Braves' fifth straight victory and 14th in 16 games.
The Astros have lost seven of eight.
"It was a crazy game and right now we're getting the breaks that (the Astros) aren't," Cox said.
Houston got on the board first on a three-run homer by Berkman against Reynolds in the bottom of the first.
The Braves took their first lead, 5-4, on a run-scoring single by Sheffield in the top of the fifth against
. Houston tied it on an RBI single by Berkman one inning later.
Sheffield put Atlanta ahead in the top of the seventh, 6-5, on a solo homer against
before Berkman tied in with an RBI double against Hernandez in the bottom of the frame.
"That is the life of a reliever sometimes," Astros manager
said. "When you get in those games, that just the way it goes. Everything hangs in the balance. Dotel threw the ball hard. Wagner threw the ball hard, but tonight they just gave up those hits."