Smoltz, Andruw Jones lead Braves to sweep of Orioles
ATLANTA (Ticker) --
continues to anchor the rotation in the absence of
continues to compensate for the absence of
Smoltz pitched a five-hitter for his 50th career complete game and
continued his torrid hitting with a solo homer and an RBI single as the
completed a three-game sweep of the
with an 8-1 victory.
The only member of each of the Braves' last 13 division-winning teams, Smoltz (8-5) moved back into the rotation after serving four years in the bullpen as a premier closer. With starters Hampton and Hudson on the disabled list, Smoltz has recorded three complete games in his last four starts.
"Somebody had to step up with the pitching staff," said Smoltz, who is 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last four starts. "I feel really good that this spurt (came) at the right time."
Coming off a five-hit shutout in a 5-0 win against Florida on Tuesday, Smoltz was just as sharp Sunday. He retired the first 12 batters before
led off the fifth inning with a home run. Smoltz yielded just three other singles and a double the rest of the way.
Smoltz also struck out seven, moving past
and into 27th place on the all-time list with 2,487, and walked none.
"I'm on the attack. I'm not walking many people," said Smoltz, who has pitched at least eight innings in each of his last five starts for the first time since July 10-August 6, 1992.
"To me, he looked like the
(winner) he is," Orioles shortstop
Smoltz even added a run-scoring double in a four-run eighth inning for his first RBI since June 29, 1999 at Montreal.
again led the offense with an RBI single in the first inning and his 24th home run of the season in the sixth as the Braves built a 4-1 lead.
"It's like he's carrying us right now," Braves manager
. "We've always been able to do that in Atlanta. Guys get hurt and other guys step up."
on the disabled list,
has 12 homers and 23 RBI in his last 55 at-bats after starting the month of June with no homers and one RBI in 31 at-bats.
hit .450 (9-of-20) with five homers and 11 RBI on the Braves' six-game homestand, which resulted in five wins.
"It's not like I am carrying the ballclub," said
, who is batting .382 since
was sidelined on June 6. "I'm not the only guy in the lineup. It's all about
and the front office. They rely on guys in Triple-A. (Ryan) Langerhans is a big key in our lineup.
is doing a great job.
did a great job when Chipper went down. That's what everybody's looking for when key guys go down."
had three hits and two RBI and
added two hits, including a two-run triple, for the Braves.
The loss was a season-high fifth straight for the Orioles.
"Right now we're struggling," Tejada said. "Hopefully, it will change tomorrow. We've got to calm down. We've got to relax a little bit."
(7-3), who was 5-0 in his previous six starts, yielded four runs and seven hits in six innings.
The home run for Palmeiro was the 562nd of his career, moving him within one of tying
for ninth place on the all-time list. He also has 1,811 RBI, one behind
, who is 15th on the all-time list.