Atlanta’s John Smoltz can’t wait for another shot at closing out a game.
Back from the disabled list, Smoltz hopes to get a chance to atone for a shaky outing on Tuesday when the Braves continue their four-game series with the Florida Marlins at Turner Field.
Smoltz, the only pitcher in baseball history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves, was activated from his second DL stint of the season on Monday and got his first save opportunity since 2004. However, he blew the chance, giving up a two-out, two-run single to Jeremy Hermida before the Braves (30-28) rallied for a 7-5 win in 10 innings.
“The beauty of this role,” Smoltz said, “is that I get to go right back out and do it again.”
Smoltz began his career as a starter before earning 154 saves for Atlanta from 2001-04. He returned to the rotation in 2005, but decided to switch back in the hopes of extending his career.
The 41-year-old Smoltz, who is nursing a sore right shoulder, has also adopted a new three-quarters arm angle to help deal with the pain. However, he admitted he still has some fine-tuning to do.
“I needed a little more touch,” he said. “I knew I was going to be amped up. I threw the ball awfully hard but not exactly in some of the spots. … I needed the touch to be a little bit better.”
Yunel Escobar hit a two-run homer in the 10th, helping the Braves bounce back after being swept in three games in Cincinnati. Atlanta is 7-21 on the road this season but 23-7 at Turner Field.
The Marlins (31-25), meanwhile, lost for the fifth time in six games despite scoring at least five runs for the fifth straight game. They fell 1 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Philadelphia.
“He was coming off the DL and trying to figure out his pitches,” Hermida said of facing Smoltz. “We were very fortunate to get him tonight. He’s one of the best in the game.”
The Marlins are hoping rookie right-hander Burke Badenhop (1-3, 6.75 ERA) can help them bounce back.
Badenhop is making his first start since May 18 against Kansas City, when he allowed six runs in just three innings of a 9-3 home loss. Badenhop was scheduled to pitch May 24 against San Francisco, but was skipped because of a rainout.
He did throw 1 1-3 innings of relief against Philadelphia on Friday, but yielded a three-run homer to Ryan Howard.
Badenhop made his only previous start against the Braves on April 24 in Atlanta, allowing six runs in five innings of a 7-4 loss. He could be pitching to stay in the majors this time—the Marlins are expected to send a pitcher to the minors, and with options remaining, Badenhop might be the odd man out.
Atlanta counters with Jorge Campillo (2-0, 0.99), who is making his fourth start. He threw 10 scoreless innings in his first two and allowed only one run in five innings in Thursday’s 8-1 win in Milwaukee before a recurring blister problem forced him out of the game.
The blister problem limited him to just four innings in his previous start against Arizona five days earlier.
“If he can give us five like that every time, that’s good enough,” manager Bobby Cox said. “What a fantastic story Campy is.”
Campillo made 13 relief appearances before joining the rotation, including two against the Marlins. He did not get a decision in five total scoreless innings.