The Atlanta Braves have won 11 straight division titles. However, during that entire span they never had a stretch like this.
Since beginning the season by losing eight of 12, the Braves have gone 23-4. It’s their best 27-game stretch since 1954—the franchise’s second year in Milwaukee.
They’ll look to continue this historic string when they meet Los Angeles in the finale of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Since their poor start to the season, the Braves’ pitching staff has a 3.19 ERA. Their hitters have also been impressive, scoring 206 runs, the second-most in the National League this season.
John Smoltz pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 16th save in 17 chances. Atlanta has won the last 70 games in which Smoltz has pitched, a major league record.
The Braves clinched their ninth straight series win with Tuesday’s victory. They have not lost a series since dropping two of three at Florida on April 11-13.
The Dodgers had won three consecutive series before opening their nine-game homestand with two straight losses.
STANDINGS: Braves - 1st place, NL East. Dodgers - 2nd place, 6 GB, NL West.
BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Greg Maddux (3-4, 4.73 ERA). After struggling earlier this season, Maddux has gone at least six innings in each of his past four starts. On Friday, he gave up three runs and five hits, as the Braves lost to the San Francisco Giants 9-2. In 26 career games against the Dodgers, Maddux is 10-5 with a 2.83 ERA.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Kevin Brown (3-1, 2.68 ERA). Brown has allowed just three runs in his last three starts, a span of 21 innings. On Friday, he lasted six innings in the Dodgers’ 9-5 win over the Montreal Expos, giving up one run and six hits. He did not get the decision. Brown is 4-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 14 career games against the Braves.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Braves - Sheffield, .349 avg. and 36 runs; Sheffield and Andruw Jones, 9 HRs; Andruw Jones, 37 RBIs; Sheffield and Rafael Furcal, 8 SBs. Dodgers - Dave Roberts, .288 avg. and 18 SBs; Fred McGriff and Shawn Green, 5 HRs; McGriff, 19 RBIs; Green and Roberts, 21 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Braves, 2-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Braves - C Javy Lopez is batting .160 (4-for-25) with seven strikeouts in his career against Brown. … RHP Darren Holmes threw off a mound Tuesday and is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday when the Braves are in San Diego. Holmes hasn’t pitched since May 1 because of an inflamed nerve in his upper arm. … RF Sheffield is hitting a major league-leading .500 (25-for-50) on the road. Dodgers - The Dodgers placed LHP Troy Brohawn on the 15-day disabled list because of tendinitis in his rotator cuff, and promoted LHP Steve Colyer from Triple-A Las Vegas. … RF Green is batting .526 (10-for-19) with three homers in his career against Maddux. … RHP Paul Shuey, who hasn’t pitched for the Dodgers since April 22 because of a sprained right knee, reported no problems after throwing 30 pitches in a simulated game.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Braves - 12-5 on the road; Dodgers - 9-9 at home.
INJURIES: Braves - RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Holmes (arm), 15-day DL. Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (neck), 15-day DL; OF Chad Hermansen (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Shuey (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL.