Final in 11

Series: Game 1 of 3

Atlanta leads 1-0 (as of 6/8)

Game 1: Tuesday, June 8
in 11
Game 2: Wednesday, June 9
Game 3: Thursday, June 10

Braves 4

(29-28, 14-15 away)

Tigers 3

(25-32, 12-17 home)

    7:05 PM ET, June 8, 2004

    Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

    R H E
    ATL - -
    DET - -

    W: C. Reitsma (2-1)

    L: D. Patterson (0-3)

    S: J. Smoltz (9)

    DeRosa scores winner after leadoff double

    DETROIT (AP) -- John Smoltz spent most of his life dreaming about pitching at Tiger Stadium. It didn't work out -- his first chance to pitch at home came a few years into the Comerica Park era -- but that didn't stop him from enjoying it.

    Smoltz, born in suburban Detroit, pitched a perfect 10th inning to complete a 4-3 Atlanta win in the Braves' first visit to the Tigers.

    "My pulse was racing when I came into the game -- I had to take my time and calm down before I started pitching," said Smoltz, who was drafted by the Tigers in 1986 and traded to the Braves the next year. "It would have been nice if we could have played at Tiger Stadium, but this is still a great night."

    Smoltz bought 75 tickets for friends and family, but had many more fans among the crowd of 19,062.

    "I don't know how many people were out there," said the 17-year veteran. "Obviously, people have known about these games for a long time, so a lot of them had already gotten tickets on their own."

    With the score tied at 3, Mark De Rosa led off the 10th with a long double to center, and Rafael Furcal sacrificed. Danny Patterson (0-3) threw the ball into right field, allowing the run to score and Furcal to reach second. Nick Green also tried to sacrifice, but Patterson hit him.

    Jamie Walker retired the next three batters to keep it a one-run game, but the Tigers went out meekly against Smoltz in the bottom of the inning.

    "I'm sure Smoltz had some extra energy pitching at home, but he's one of the elite closers no matter where he is," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "He might not be the best -- there's always Eric Gagne -- but I'm sure Bobby Cox wouldn't trade him for anyone."

    Chris Reitsma (2-1) pitched two shutout innings in relief of Mike Hampton, who allowed three runs in seven innings.

    Jason Johnson gave up three runs and seven hits in eight innings as Detroit lost for the 11th time in 15 games.

    "I'm not happy with my outing, because we lost the game," Johnson said. "I might have pitched well, but it is getting frustrating, because we are going through a rough patch right now -- we need to find a way to turn some of these close games around."

    Atlanta took a 3-0 lead in the second. Dewayne Wise hit an RBI double that center fielder Alex Sanchez misplayed for an error that allowed a second run to score, and Furcal hit a two-out, run-scoring single. Wise left the game after the inning with a strained left hamstring.

    Detroit had runners in scoring position in three of the first five innings, but couldn't score. Carlos Guillen hit into two double plays and the Tigers wasted a one-out double in the second and a leadoff double in the fifth.

    By then Johnson had settled down. He allowed only two singles after the second inning.

    "Johnson was lights-out today -- he was really impressive," Cox said. "It was a good thing that we got a couple timely hits in the second inning and that we had the double-play ball working for us."

    Detroit scored in the sixth. Dmitri Young and Rondell White hit back-to-back doubles with one out and Brandon Inge tied it with an opposite-field homer to right with two outs.

    "That was a huge hit," Johnson said. "I had been trying to keep us in the game, and Brandon came through for us. We just couldn't finish it off."

    Game notes

    The previous two interleague series between the teams both were in Atlanta. ... Smoltz, an avid golfer, planned to play a round Wednesday at nearby Oakland Hills, host of this fall's Ryder Cup. He also plans to attend Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. Tigers manager Alan Trammell and bench coach Kirk Gibson also intended to go.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press