Phillies use big first inning to pound Smoltz, Braves
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The
needed only three batters to do what few teams have been able to do lately - score against
had an RBI single in the first inning and
followed with a three-run homer as the Phillies pounded Smoltz early en route to a 5-1 triumph over the Braves.
Atlanta entered this one on the heels of back-to-back shutouts against the
New York Mets
. Braves' starters had a league-leading 2.98 ERA this season and were working on a streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings.
Smoltz (3-4), who had a 1.79 ERA over his last nine starts, yielded singles to
in the first before Abreu's run-scoring base hit snapped the Braves' scoreless streak just 11 pitches into the contest. Thome followed by blasting an 0-1 fastball over the center field wall to give the Phillies a 4-0 cushion.
"When you do get a fastball (from Smoltz), you have to put it in play," said Thome, who homered for only the second time this season. "Obviously, the home run with guys on was big."
"(It was) a fastball away," said Smoltz, who allowed a homer for the first time in his last 47 innings. "I didn't think he got it. He got enough of it."
Atlanta third baseman
realized that the scoreless streak was not going to last forever.
"It's going to end sometime," Jones said. "I wish they would have spread those four runs up throughout the nine innings. To try to come back from that deficit isn't good."
claimed that Smoltz could not get his back loose in the first inning, but the 38-year-old righthander refused to use his back as an excuse.
"That's not why I gave up runs," Smoltz said. "I'm going to get every start this year. I'm going to have to get hit by a car not to make my next start."
Smoltz regrouped to hold Philadelphia scoreless over the next five frames, exiting after six innings in which he allowed four runs, eight hits and four walks.
"It's big anytime you face Smoltz and capitalize against him," Thome said. "We got some runs in the first and that was it."
Rollins, Polanco and Abreu added two hits apiece for Philadelphia, which added an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI single by
(5-3) allowed just a run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven in winning for the third straight start, posting a 1.67 ERA over that stretch.
"I'm very satisfied with the way everything went," Lidle said. "Whenever you go up against a future Hall of Famer and when you get four runs off one of those guys, it's pretty comforting."
"He was flailing stuff up there left and right," Jones said. "It was hard to get a beat on him. He mixed in just enough to keep everybody off his off-speed stuff."
scattered one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless frames of relief for the beleaguered Phillies bullpen, which boasted a major-league worst 6.16 ERA coming into this one.
Atlanta scored its only run against Lidle in the first inning on consecutive doubles by
Furcal had three hits and two stolen bases for the Braves, who had their eight-game home winning streak snapped.