Extra MustardSI On CampusFantasyPhoto GalleriesSwimsuitVideoFanNationSI KidsTNT
Updated: Friday, July 15, 2005 11:42 PM EDT



  R H E  
Braves 2 9 1 WP: Smoltz (10-5)
LP: Hernandez (5-3)
S: Reitsma (8)  
Mets 1 6 0
Betemit's single in eighth lifts Smoltz over Glavine

FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) -- A bad-hop single by Wilson Betemit made John Smoltz the winner in a friendly battle of former Cy Young Award winners.

Betemit delivered the go-ahead single in the eighth inning and Smoltz pitched seven strong frames to outlast longtime teammate Tom Glavine as the Atlanta Braves defeated the New York Mets , 2-1.

The game marked the first encounter between Smoltz and Glavine, who were teammates on the Braves for 15 years from 1988 to 2002. In that time, they combined for three Cy Young Awards and helped the Braves win five pennants and a World Series.

"The matchup couldn't have been better," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We win, Tommy didn't get the loss and Smoltzie pitched super."

Both pitchers rose to the occasion with seven outstanding innings in this one, but it was Smoltz (10-5) who emerged with a win when the Braves scored a run off righthander Roberto Hernandez (5-3) in the eighth.

Atlanta's Marcus Giles and Andruw Jones singled to open the eighth. Julio Franco then grounded into a double play and the Mets appeared to be out of the inning when Betemit hit a chopper to shortstop Jose Reyes . But the grounder took a bad hop off Reyes' bare hand for an RBI single.

It was a reversal of fortunes for Betemit, who was robbed of a run-scoring hit when Reyes made a diving stop on a grounder and threw him out to end the sixth.

"The first time I hit it good and he made the play," Betemit said. "The next time I saw the ball hit his hand I just said, "Go!"

The ball hit off the ring finger of Reyes and split a nail, but he stayed in the game. Smoltz, who left runners in scoring position in the third, fifth and seventh, won his sixth straight decision and helped the Braves stop a three-game losing streak. Starting 10 times after Atlanta losses, the Braves are 8-2 in games where the veteran righthander has pitched.

The chance to face a long-time teammate and friend such as Glavine was not lost on Smoltz, even in the heat of battle.

"I think there is something different when you face a long-time teammate. You want to do well," Smoltz said. "There are times you draw from the adrenaline of watching him work out of a tough situation."

David Wright homered against Smoltz for a 1-0 lead in the second. It was the third homer in the last two days for the 22-year-old, who had hit just three homers in his previous 40 games.

But that was one of the few mistakes by Smoltz, who allowed one run and four hits while striking out five, including his 2,500th strikeout of his career when he fanned Reyes in the fifth.

"With the exception of one bad pitch, I think each of us pitched the game we wanted," Smoltz said.

In the ninth, Braves closer Chris Reitsma surrendered a leadoff single to Cliff Floyd but nailed down his eighth save when Mike Piazza hit into a double play and Wright flew out to the warning track in right.

"I thought it had a chance and it came up short," Wright said.

It was the first appearance by Reitsma since he was forced to leave a 8-4 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday when he was hit in the ribs by a line drive.

Glavine was just 1-8 with an 8.81 ERA against the Braves before Friday but allowed his only run in the third when rookie Brian McCann singled and later scored on a triple by Rafael Furcal . The lefthander allowed six hits and walked four in seven innings, doing the best to put his personal matchup with Smoltz aside.

"Too much is made of the head-to-head thing," Glavine said. "From my standpoint, it means pitching well against those guys."

Glavine did admit to avoiding eye contact with Smoltz the first time his former teammate came to the plate.

"I didn't want to laugh," said Glavine, who also stranded runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth.

Jones barely missed a home run in the fourth when his line drive landed about a foot wide of the left field foul pole. In the fifth, Smoltz grounded into a double play with runners on first and third to end the frame.

divider line