Atlanta (31-43) at Tampa Bay (32-42)

Partly Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 87° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Sat Jun 24, 2006
  • TV: TBS, WPXM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Atlanta’s worst losing streak in 18 years is over. Now, the Braves have to figure out a way to get their season back on track.

The Braves look to build on their first win after a 10-game slide when they continue their weekend series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field on Saturday.

The Braves (31-43) beat the Devil Rays 4-3 in 10 innings on Friday, ending their longest losing streak since dropping the first 10 games of the 1988 season.

“I think it was more exciting than when we clinched last year,” said right fielder Jeff Francoeur, who scored the winning run against the Devil Rays. “It’s nice to talk about a win. It’s nice to come in here and see everybody excited and smiles around the clubhouse.”

Todd Pratt drove in the winning run on a fielder’s choice. Andruw Jones homered and drove in the other three runs for Atlanta, which has won just four of its last 24 games.

The Braves, who have won 14 straight division titles, still remain in last place in the NL East, 15 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Mets—the farthest back they’ve been since the end of the 1990 season.

Starter John Smoltz left Friday’s game in the second inning with a strained right groin. He is day-to-day, and plans a bullpen session on Sunday, when his status will be re-evaluated.

“It took me coming out for us to win,” joked Smoltz, who said that leaving the game was precautionary. “I’ll take it, and I’m sure the team will take it.”

Carl Crawford and Aubrey Huff each drove in runs for the Devil Rays (32-42), who were coming off a three-game sweep of Arizona.

“We had chances,” Crawford said. “But we just kind of let it slip away from us.”

Lance Cormier (2-2, 6.57 ERA) will try to help the Braves to back-to-back wins. He made his first start since 2004 on Saturday, allowing four runs and seven hits in four innings of a 5-3 loss to Boston.

Cormier made 18 relief appearances this season, recording a 6.10 ERA and walking 17 batters in 20 2-3 innings, before being sent to Triple-A Richmond on May 30, but was recalled to help out an injury-depleted rotation.

Cormier made his major league debut against the Devil Rays, giving up seven runs in just 1 1-3 innings of an 11-4 loss on June 19, 2004 while he was with Arizona. He has not faced Tampa Bay since.

The Devil Rays will counter with Tim Corcoran (0-0, 2.70), who is making his second career start.

He started on Oct. 2 and gave up two runs in 4 1-3 innings but did not get a decision in Tampa Bay’s 6-2 loss to Baltimore. He has made three appearances out of the bullpen this season, most recently on Sunday, when he allowed one hit while recording one out in Tampa Bay’s 8-5 loss to Philadelphia.

Corcoran is taking the place of Seth McClung, who was sent to Triple-A Durham to prepare for a switch from starter to reliever.

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Starting Pitchers

L. Cormier TB vs. T. Corcoran Atl
4-5 Record 5-9
4.89 ERA 4.38
43 K 59
39 BB 48
1.75 WHIP 1.55