Braves win as Smoltz races to 40 saves
This isn't the type of record John Smoltz ever imagined setting.
Smoltz became the fastest to record 40 saves, closing out Tom Glavine's 15th win as the Atlanta Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 Thursday to take two out of three from the defending World Series champions.
Smoltz, the 1996 NL Cy Young winner as a starter and a former 20-game winner, quickly has transformed into one of the game's best closers.
''When I think of how it's evolved, it's nice,'' Smoltz said. ''Being a starter most of my career, you obviously don't think you're going to attain anything other than starting records or numbers.''
Smoltz, who blew his first save in 26 tries in Tuesday night's series opener, replaced Glavine and got three outs to earn his 40th save in Atlanta's 114th game. Lee Smith of St. Louis was the previous fastest to 40 saves, doing it in 117 games in 1993.
''It was good to get him back out there, and nice for me personally for him to get the team save record in a game that I pitched,'' Glavine said. ''That's pretty neat, seeing as we've been around each other for so long.''
In other NL games, it was: Chicago 9, San Francisco 3; St. Louis 5, Montreal 3; Florida 4, Houston 3; Los Angeles 10, Pittsburgh 5; New York 9, Milwaukee 0; Colorado 10, Cincinnati 3; and San Diego 7, Philadelphia 4.
In Phoenix, Julio Franco and Mark De Rosa homered off Arizona starter Brian Anderson (5-8) in the final regular-season matchup of the top two teams in the National League.
Glavine (15-6) allowed four hits, struck out five, walked three and hit a batter.
''That's about as good as I've ever seen him,'' Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. ''Tommy Glavine was just too much for us today. It was just a vintage Tom Glavine game.''
Junior Spivey broke up Glavine's shutout bid with a leadoff home run in the ninth. It was Arizona's second hit since the first inning.
''I wanted the shutout more than anything,'' said Glavine, who has two complete games and one shutout this season. ''If I had given up a run before then I probably wouldn't have gone out for the ninth inning. But with a shutout, you try to go out there and ride it as long as I can.''
Cubs 9, Giants 3
Sammy Sosa homered twice, including a 461-foot drive to straightaway center, and Barry Bonds was denied his 600th home run for the second straight day as Chicago won at San Francisco.
Matt Clement (9-8) got eight strikeouts during seven shutout innings of two-hit ball, but Sosa provided the excitement with his two homers that gave him 35 on the year.
Bonds went 1-for-2 with a single, a strikeout and two walks.
Livan Hernandez (7-12) took the loss.
Cardinals 5, Expos 3
Matt Morris (13-7) won his 13th game, and St. Louis' hitters broke out of their slump as the host Cardinals snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Albert Pujols hit a two-run home run in the first, and Jim Edmonds had a two-run shot in the second for the Cardinals, whose five runs in the first two innings off Britt Reames (1-3) were one more than their total in the previous four games.
St. Louis leads the NL Central by two games over the Astros and by three over the Reds.
Marlins 4, Astros 3
Julian Tavarez (8-9) won for the first time in a month, and Ramon Castro ended an 0-for-10 slump with two hits and three RBIs as visiting Florida snapped Houston's four-game winning streak.
Castro, a former minor leaguer in Houston's farm system, put Florida ahead with a two-run single in the fifth.
Dodgers 10, Pirates 5
Adrian Beltre and Shawn Green each hit two-run homers as host Los Angeles beat error-plagued Pittsburgh.
The victory put the Dodgers back in front in the wild card race by a half-game over San Francisco.
Kevin Beirne (1-0) pitched one inning for his second career victory.
Mets 9, Brewers 0
Steve Trachsel scattered five hits in his first complete game and shutout of the season as New York won at Milwaukee.
Trachsel (8-7), 5-1 in his last nine starts, pitched his first complete game since last Oct. 3, when he blanked Pittsburgh 3-0.
Timo Perez had two triples, including one off Matt Childers with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Padres 7, Phillies 4
Ron Gant hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Terry Adams (4-8) and tied it in the eighth with a run-scoring triple to lead San Diego over Philadelphia.
Tom Davey (1-0) pitched the ninth for the win. The Associated Press