Smoltz gets 3,00th strikeout of career against Nats

4/23/2008 - MLB John Smoltz Atlanta Braves + more

Starter, reliever, All-Star, likely Hall of Famer. John Smoltz can likely add that last description to his resume after the Atlanta Braves pitcher picked up his 3,000th career strikeout on Tuesday night.

Smoltz whiffed Washington Nationals leadoff man Felipe Lopez for the second out in the top of the third inning to reach the milestone. He needed four strikeouts coming into the game to make history.

Smoltz, 40, received a standing ovation after Lopez swung and missed on a 2-2 pitch.

Nick Johnson and Austin Kearns looked at called third strikes in the second. Nationals pitcher John Lannan struck out swinging to begin the third.

Smoltz ended the night with 10 strike outs, exiting after seven innings with the Braves down 1-0. A five-run ninth inning, however, sent the Nationals to a 6-0 win and Smoltz to his first loss of the season.

Among the 15 pitchers ahead of him on the 3,000 strikeout list, Smoltz reached the mark faster than all but Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Nolan Ryan, Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens.

Smoltz's former teammate, San Diego pitcher Greg Maddux, is the only other active pitcher with more strikeouts (3,287).

Martinez, currently on the disabled list for the New York Mets, is in 15th place with 3,031.

The only pitcher in history with 200 victories and 150 saves in his career, Smoltz was attempting to improve to 4-0. The Elias Sports Bureau reported that his 3-0 mark made Smoltz just the fifth 40-year-old over the last 50 years to win his first three appearances.

The others were Kenny Rogers last year, Clemens in 2004, Ryan in 1990 and Phil Niekro in 1984.

Ryan is baseball's career strikeouts leader with 5,714.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.