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Marlins Defeat Braves, Smoltz

From Associated Press

For the Florida Marlins, handing Atlanta Brave pitcher John Smoltz his second defeat in less than a week wasn’t the problem.

The difficult part was securing the victory.

Florida chased Smoltz, baseball’s winningest pitcher, after four innings, handing him his second loss this week, and then survived a ninth-inning rally Saturday night for a 5-3 victory over the Braves at Atlanta.

“It’s never easy against those guys,” said Florida Manager Rene Lachemann, who watched his team nearly squander a 5-0 lead. “They came back on us in the ninth, and that’s why they have the trophy and rings. They never stop playing.”

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Jeff Conine’s two-run homer in the first inning helped Florida jump to a 5-0 lead after three innings against Smoltz (14-3), who had won 14 in a row before losing to St. Louis on June 24.

Smoltz gave up four runs and eight hits in four innings--his shortest stint since Aug. 19.

“Obviously, this will force me to make some adjustments--minor stuff,” Smoltz said. “I’m not frustrated, but I don’t like to lose. I still maintain that it takes a lot of hits to beat me, and tonight they got a lot of hits.”

Montreal 1, Philadelphia 0--Jeff Fassero pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout and Mike Lansing drove in the game’s only run with his third double to lead the Expos at Philadelphia.

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Fassero (8-5), who took a perfect game into the sixth inning, won his fifth consecutive decision with his second complete game. He had great control in his 83rd career start, walking none and matching a career-high with 11 strikeouts.

San Diego 7, San Francisco 6--Chris Gomez’s solo home run broke a ninth-inning tie and the Padres rallied from a six-run deficit at San Francisco as the Giants lost their ninth consecutive game.

Steve Finley had two home runs and a career-high five runs batted in for the Padres, who won their third in a row after losing 16 of 19.

Cincinnati 9, Chicago 5--Eric Davis and Joe Oliver hit bases-loaded doubles in a five-run fifth inning to help the Reds to their seventh consecutive victory at Cincinnati.

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Mark Portugal gave up five hits over seven innings as the Reds matched their season-best winning streak.

St. Louis 6, Pittsburgh 5--Brian Jordan singled home the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Cardinals won their seventh in a row at St. Louis.

Willie McGee opened the ninth with an infield single and Ozzie Smith followed with a bloop single. Ray Lankford’s groundout to second sent McGee to third before Ron Grant walked to load the bases. Jordan, who had three hits, then singled home the game-winning run.

Houston 9, New York 1--Shane Reynolds came within a strike of his second shutout of the season, settling for an eight-hitter in leading the Astros at Houston.

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Reynolds (9-5) got his second complete game and second victory in six starts in June. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter in ending the Mets’ four-game winning streak.

James Mouton drove in three runs and Derek Bell and Craig Biggio drove in two each for Houston. Biggio and Orlando Miller also homered for the Astros.


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