PHOENIX (AP) -- John Smoltz blows a save opportunity about as
often as Rafael Furcal hits a 414-foot home run.
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Both oddities occurred Friday night as the Atlanta Braves beat
the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 in 11 innings for their sixth straight
win and eighth in a row on the road.
Smoltz blew his first save in 28 chances, but Furcal homered in
the 11th to bail out the Braves, who have won 15 of 17 following a
Furcal's homer against Matt Mantei (3-1) leading off the 11th
extended the Braves' winning streak to 63 games in which Smoltz has
"Sometimes when some guy throws so hard like that, you do a
good swing and you get a lot of power," Furcal said. "I think
that's the longest home run in my life."
Atlanta added another run in the 11th on shortstop Tony Womack's
two-out throwing error.
Mantei threw a perfect 10th but got in immediate trouble in the
11th. Furcal, who also singled twice, smashed a 2-1 pitch 414 feet
over the swimming pool in right-center for his second home run of
Mantei threw Furcal a series of fastballs.
"I made a bad pitch," Mantei said. "He's not a guy I felt
that would be able to take me out to right-center."
Jung Bong (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.
The Braves, who have won a record 11 straight division titles, took
over sole possession of first place in the NL East for the first
time this season.
Smoltz's first blown save since last Aug. 6, also at Arizona,
first pitch he saw to deep right-center for a run-scoring double to
make it 2-2.
"I broke a 25-game save streak the last time I was here,"
Smoltz said, "so I'm not really fond of this place. Fortunately,
we won both games."
The right-hander escaped the ninth without any further damage,
though, to send the game to extra innings.
"Gracie popped him pretty good," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox
said, "but then he held, so in my mind, he still had a good
Smoltz, who leads the majors with 11 saves, allowed a run for
the second night in a row after holding the opposition scoreless in
22 consecutive appearances.
The Braves took a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth.
Chipper Jones, who doubled in Atlanta's first run in the third
singled up the middle for his 26th RBI of the season.
Junior Spivey hit a solo homer for Arizona in the fourth.
Arizona's Brandon Webb allowed one run on three hits in seven
innings in his second big league start. In his two starts for
Arizona, the 23-year-old right-hander has allowed one run on six
hits in 14 innings.
"That kid Webb is very impressive," Cox said. "He and (Derek)
Lowe have the best sinkers I've seen in years and years. You know,
he could almost literally pitch with one pitch, the way it moves.
And he's got a pretty good breaking ball that he didn't throw a lot
of because he didn't need to."
Arizona outhit Atlanta 13-8 but left 12 on base and was 0-for-10
with runners in scoring position.
"It's getting to be a broken record," manager Bob Brenly said.
"Brandon Webb goes out there and pitches about as good as you can
pitch against a real tough lineup, holds them to three hits and a
run. Once again, that should be good enough to win a ballgame, but
we just left too many runners on base."
Horacio Ramirez allowed one run and scattered seven hits in six
innings for Atlanta.
The Braves were without Gary Sheffield, who was in Chicago to
attend the funeral of his wife's grandmother.
Furcal had two of the three hits off Webb. ... Arizona's
Curt Schilling will make his first start Saturday since April 17,
two days before he underwent an appendectomy. The team will have to
make a roster move before the game because Schilling is on the
15-day DL. .... Spivey's other home run this season came in the
first game of this homestand Monday against Florida.
- Home Plate Umpire - Ted Barrett
- First Base Umpire - C.B. Bucknor
- Second Base Umpire - Tony Randazzo
- Third Base Umpire - Tim Mcclelland