Atlanta (33-32) at Cincinnati (26-39)

Fair Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Thu Jun 16, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Coming off his best performance of the season, John Smoltz hopes to help the Atlanta Braves end their recent struggles as they open a four-game set with the Cincinnati Reds.

In his last start, Smoltz pitched his first complete game in six years in the Braves’ 5-3 victory over Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

Smoltz, the team’s closer the past three seasons, allowed five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in the win.

“I’m sure I don’t know how many people thought I would pitch a complete game this year or pitch 200 innings,” said Smoltz, who threw 106 pitches in his 48th career complete game and first since April 30, 1999, against Cincinnati, who he’ll face on Thursday.

“He had his stuff,” A’s outfielder Mark Kotsay said. “He was throwing his fastball just over the kneecap at 92, 93, 94 all day.”

The Braves are hoping for a similar effort from Smoltz on Thursday.

Atlanta is coming off a 9-5 defeat to Texas on Wednesday, a game in which the club started seven rookies for the first time since Oct. 1, 1978. The defeat gave the Braves their sixth straight series loss since sweeping three games from the New York Mets on May 23-25.

The Reds are coming off a 6-1 loss at Boston on Wednesday, which completed a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox.

Cincinnati, which had at least 10 runs in four of its five games before the Boston series, was swept for the third time in its last four series on the road.

The team has played better at home (20-16) at home, where they’ve won 10 of 13, hitting .320 with 19 homers in their past seven home games.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Smoltz StL vs. B. Claussen Was
14-7 Record 10-11
3.06 ERA 4.21
169 K 121
53 BB 57
1.15 WHIP 1.41