Andruw Jones homers twice, Smoltz goes distance for Braves
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The hitting of
and the pitching of
' road struggles.
Jones hit a pair of two-run homers and Smoltz recorded his 48th career complete game as the
posted a 5-3 victory over the Athletics, who lost for the 12th time in their last 13 road games.
Anchoring a lineup without injured stars
collected his second multi-homer game of the season and 22nd of his career.
"Last year, in the beginning of the season, a lot of people went down. I got experience from that," said
, who at 28 was the oldest Atlanta position player in the lineup. "I went through that last year and it really went bad for me. This year I just go out there and let it happen."
) told me that (he was the oldest position player) yesterday," Braves manager
said. "I told him, 'well, you're the new team leader.'"
Atlanta's three-time All-Star center fielder rose to the challenge.
After a two-out single by
, Jones crushed a 1-1 pitch from Athletics starter
over the left field fence to give the Braves a 2-0 lead in the fourth.
Oakland came back with three runs in the sixth behind four consecutive hits, but Jones smacked another two-run blast to nearly the same spot in the bottom of the frame against righthander
followed with his first homer to increase the lead to 5-3.
"Today, me and LaRoche did a good job," Jones said. "Every time he got on base, I drove him in. It came at the right time. I got a couple of pitches to hit and I hit them."
"I was surprised when I threw that pitch to
," Duchscherer said. "He connected before it had a chance to run in."
It was the third time this season the Braves have hit back-to-back homers.
Smoltz (5-5) shook off the one bad inning to collect his first complete game in six years. The veteran righthander allowed three runs, five hits and three walks to go the distance for the first time since April 30, 1999 vs. Cincinnati, when he outdueled former teammate
"I tried to approach the eighth and ninth innings like the playoffs," said Smoltz, who returned to the Atlanta rotation this season after spending the last three years as the closer. "I'm glad I'm not talking about another stinking loss because of that one inning."
"He made his pitches when he had to," Oakland manager
said. "He got some big double-play balls."
His catcher, McCann, was just 15 years old the last time Smoltz posted a complete game. The Atlanta-area native, who was making just his second start in the major leagues since being recalled from Class AA Mississippi on Wednesday, grew up idolizing Smoltz and the Braves.
"Today was unbelievable," said McCann, who had numerous friends and family in attendance. "I got to catch one of my childhood idols. Catching a complete game from Smoltz (is better than hitting the home run). It's not even close."
"I had a little bit more fun today," Smoltz said. "Throwing to him and just seeing him (out there was fun)."
hit an RBI single and
added a run-scoring double in the sixth for Oakland, which fell to 9-24 away from McAfee Coliseum this season.
Duchscherer, who entered the contest without allowing an earned run allowed in his previous 10 1/3 innings, gave up three runs and four hits, including two homers, in two frames to absorb his first loss in 23 appearances this season.