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Smoltz exits early


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Big first keys Braves' victory

Smoltz's back injury dampens celebration of easy win

By Mark Bowman / MLB.com


ATLANTA -- While the Braves' offense roared again in their 9-4 win over the Astros at Turner Field on Friday night, John Smoltz's exit with soreness in his back put a damper on things for the Atlanta fans.

Smoltz allowed just one earned run and two hits in five innings. He appeared to be bothered by his back throughout the game and walked off the field grimacing after recording the final out in the fifth. The right-hander, who was credited with his third consecutive victory, has posted a 1.82 ERA in his past six starts.


Johnny Estrada's three-run homer in the first inning got things rolling for the Braves, who also scored nine runs in Thursday night's win over the Astros. Consecutive two-out doubles from Marcus Giles, who enjoyed a three-hit performance, and Chipper Jones capped a three-run second inning against Roy Oswalt and gave Smoltz a 6-0 lead.


Oswalt, who had sprained his right foot in his previous appearance, allowed Giles another double to begin the fifth inning in which the Braves also scored three runs. Andruw Jones capped his two-hit evening with an RBI single that ended the scoring in the fifth inning.


Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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Guest Fritz

I'd prefer he stays healthy and we beat them while they're at their best. If we win the division, I want us to get full credit for it. Not get some BS like, "oh, you guys are lucky so and so was hurt." Also, hoping for injuries is just not cool and mega bad karma.

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