SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- While one of baseball's best closers was unable to do his job, another was saved from suffering the same fate by his defense.
belted a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning off
was thrown out at the plate to end the game as the
San Diego Padres
Fourth on the all-time saves list with 383, Hoffman (2-3) started the ninth with a one-run lead and hopes of nailing down San Diego's fifth win in seven games. But after
led off the inning with a single, Jones deposited a 2-1 offering over the center field wall, giving Atlanta a 6-5 advantage.
"I was just looking for a pitch to drive and he threw it, and I didn't miss it," Jones said. "When guys like that make a mistake, you have to take advantage of it because you never know when they're going to do it again."
"You're pitching 2-1 to a good hitter, and that's not a good count to pitch in," Hoffman said. "He's dangerous when he gets his arms extended, and he was able to get extended in that situation."
, who has reached the 30-save plateau each of the last three seasons, came on in the bottom of the ninth and retired the first two Padres before walking Loretta on a 3-2 pitch.
, who homered and tripled earlier in the game, ripped a shot down the right field line that was played perfectly by J.D. Drew, who quickly hit cutoff man
with a throw.
With Loretta rounding third,
fired home to catcher
, who was waiting to apply the tag on the Padres' All-Star second baseman to end the game.
"That couldn't have worked out any better," Drew said. "You've got to be aggressive. You can't be timid, especially with a corner like that. I was able to get a bare hand on it, throw it and turn it over to (
"Drew made a great play,"
said. "It had some air on it bouncing off the cement (in the corner) there and it looked like he almost ran by it. But they made four perfect plays in a row right there."
Thanks to the perfect execution, Smoltz recorded his 31st save of the season and 141st career, tying
for first place on the Braves' all-time list.
"That was a big game," Smoltz said. "I'll take it anytime you can have something like that happen. I could see it all develop and once I saw J.D. get the ball, I knew we had a great chance. Your emotion just builds up when you see him tag it. To end like that is just an emotional rush."
(5-3) picked up the win after working a perfect eighth inning.
gave San Diego a 1-0 lead with an RBI triple in the first inning. But Atlanta plated three runs in the fourth on run-scoring singles by
and a sacrifice fly by
to move ahead.
belted back-to-back two-out homers in the fifth, tying the game at 3-3. It marked the second straight game San Diego has hit consecutive homers after going 119 games without accomplishing the feat.
drove in runs in the sixth to give the Padres a 5-3 edge, but pinch hitter
lifted a sacrifice fly in the eighth to set up
' game-winning blast an inning later.
"That's a good ballclub over there," Padres manager
said. "That's a tough (loss), no question about it. They're a good team with a lot of power and they snatched it from us tonight."