John Smoltz returned from the 15-day disabled list and pitched six scoreless innings last night, leading the Atlanta Braves over the visiting Colorado Rockies, 7-2.
Smoltz (6-1), activated earlier in the day after being sidelined by an inflamed right elbow, gave up four hits. He walked none and struck out five. Smoltz lowered his earned run average to 2.34, second in the NL to Chicago's Kevin Tapani (2.30). He also hit a double and an RBI single, and escaped a rundown.
"It looked to me like he didn't miss a beat," Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox said. "He had everything going and he didn't forget how to swing the bat, either."
"He's one of the best in the business," Colorado Manager Jim Leyland said of Smoltz, who went 2 for 3 and upped his batting average to .364 (8 for 22).
The Rockies, 3-6 during a 10-game trip that ends today, made four errors that led to three unearned runs. Colorado pitchers walked 11 and hit a batter.
REDS 4, METS 0: In New York, Pete Harnisch extended his shutout string to 16 innings, combining with Scott Sullivan on a seven-hitter as Cincinnati beat the Mets for its fourth straight win.
Harnisch (5-5) improved to 6-2 against his former team, allowing six hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and three walks. He also helped himself when he doubled in the third and scored Cincinnati's first run.
New York has lost five straight, its longest skid of the season, and has scored just 12 runs in that span.
EXPOS 10, DIAMONDBACKS 8: Shane Andrews, activated from the 15-day DL before the game, homered twice, doubled and drove in five runs as host Montreal ended Arizona's seven-game winning streak.
An announced crowd of 5,188, which appeared to be no more than a few thousand, reduced Montreal's average attendance to a major league-low 9,026 in 30 home dates.
CARDINALS 8, MARLINS 4: In Miami, Mark McGwire hit a two-run double and foiled a four-outfielder alignment with his 16th homer for St. Louis.
Ray Lankford drove in three runs with a single and a two-run homer, his 10th. The Marlins lost their fourth game in a row.
McGwire's performance came in the wake of the latest controversy concerning androstenedione, a dietary supplement he uses. A new study indicates the supplement might promote breast enlargement, heart disease and cancer. McGwire declined to comment.
PIRATES 4, DODGERS 2: Jason Schmidt, given nine days off between starts after complaining of a dead arm, limited Los Angeles to a run and four hits over 6 2/3 innings for host Pittsburgh. Schmidt (5-3) allowed only Todd Hundley's solo homer, his second in as many days. Schmidt occasionally hit 97 mph on the radar gun in his first victory in exactly a month.
GIANTS 6, PHILLIES 5: In Philadelphia, Wayne Gomes walked Bill Mueller to force in the winning run in the 12th inning as San Francisco snapped its five-game losing streak.
The Giants finally gave Manager Dusty Baker his 500th career victory in his sixth attempt, making him the fifth manager in Giants history to reach the mark.
PADRES 1, CUBS 0: In Chicago, John Vander Wal homered and Andy Ashby made it stand up, pitching San Diego past the Cubs in a game called in the top of the sixth inning because of rain.
The game, delayed by rain for 18 minutes at the start, was called after a wait of 1 hour 18 minutes. Chicago had won four in a row.
ASTROS 3, BREWERS 0: Sean Bergman pitched a rain-shortened six-hitter for his first shutout in four seasons, as Houston defeated host Milwaukee in a game called in the eighth inning.
Tim Bogar doubled home two runs as the Astros snapped a four-game losing streak. The game was called after a wait of 1 hour 12 minutes.