Despite 16 K's, Peavy outdueled by Smoltz, Braves

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Jake Peavy needed only seven innings to set a Padres record with 16 strikeouts Monday night but lost because the only ball the Atlanta Braves hit out of the infield against him also happened to leave the yard.

Peavy dominated except for one pitch, which Ryan Langerhans drove into the left-field seats for a two-run homer in the second inning to lift John Smoltz and the Braves to a 3-1 win over the slumping Padres.

"As much as you're pleased with having a quality start and striking out a lot of guys, no doubt there will come a day when you look back on a franchise record and say, 'That's pretty cool,' but there's going to be an asterisk by it," Peavy said. "We lost this game, and that's tough.

"I feel terrible about it. We lost three in a row coming in here and I made it four tonight. That's what's tough to deal with."

Peavy, 24, had the most strikeouts in the majors since Mark Prior fanned 16 for the Cubs on Sept. 30, 2004, against Cincinnati, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. San Diego set a team record for a nine-inning game with 18 total strikeouts, and the 18 whiffs tied the Atlanta record for a nine-inning game.

But Smoltz (4-2) beat Peavy (3-5) for the second time this season by holding San Diego to six hits in seven scoreless innings and striking out five. The Padres stranded seven runners against Smoltz, two each in the sixth and seventh, and lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Smoltz, 39, threw a four-hitter on April 15, the first of his two complete games this year, to beat the Padres 2-0 at Atlanta.

"I'll tell you what, he's one of the nastiest pitchers in the game," Smoltz said of Peavy.

"I knew coming in that we were not going to get a bunch of runs off this guy," Smoltz added. "I unfortunately had to throw a ton of pitches the last two innings but I had to keep it at 2-0."

Said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox: "That Peavy had about as good a stuff as we've faced all season. He was dynamite, but Smoltzy outdueled him."

Peavy allowed only three hits. His previous career-high was 13 strikeouts, most recently in his last home start, when he went seven innings and beat Milwaukee 8-5 on May 11.

The Padres' old franchise record for a regular-season nine-inning game was 15 by Fred Norman at Cincinnati on Sept. 15, 1972, and matched by Sterling Hitchcock against Montreal on Aug. 29, 1998.

In the opening game of the 1998 NL division series, Kevin Brown struck out 16 in eight innings for the Padres to beat Randy Johnson and the Houston Astros 2-1.

There were a smattering of boos when pinch-hitter Mark Bellhorn replaced Peavy with two outs and a runner on in the seventh. Bellhorn singled to right to move Josh Barfield to third before Smoltz struck out Dave Roberts to end the inning.

After allowing Langerhans' two-run shot with one out in the second, Peavy retired 17 of his last 19 batters, 13 by strikeout. He struck out the side in the fifth and seventh innings, and fanned the last five batters he faced.

Peavy struck out every Braves regular at least once, and got Andruw Jones swinging in three straight at-bats.

After Peavy struck out Andruw Jones leading off the second, Jeff Francoeur beat out an infield single down the third-base line. Langerhans then hit a high 0-1 fastball just over leaping left fielder Roberts.

"Peavy was really tough," Langerhans said. "I got that one pitch up over the plate my first at-bat and took advantage of it.

"But a lot of his other pitches were right down on the knees. It seems like the rest of the night he was keeping it down, or if he did elevate it, it was at or above the strike zone."

Langerhans also struck out twice.

"It seems like he was getting everybody with different stuff," Langerhans said.

That wasn't much consolation for Peavy, who led the NL with 216 strikeouts last year. For the time being, he'll remember the homer over the 16 strikeouts.

"I'm sure someday I'll forget about that, but right now my job was to come in here and be the stopper, so I'm sure for this year I'll definitely think about that start because it cost me a loss and this team a loss."

San Diego's Mike Piazza homered off Ken Ray with two outs in the
eighth, his sixth. Khalil Greene singled but was stranded when
Andruw Jones caught a drive by Adrian Gonzalez on the warning track
in center.

Chipper Jones homered off Alan Embree leading off the ninth, his

Chris Reitsma pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 11

Game notes
Braves 1B Adam LaRoche was scratched less than 10 minutes
before first pitch due to a stiff neck. He was replaced by Brian
Jordan. ... The pinch-hit double by Wilson Betemit in the eighth
was Atlanta's 22nd of the season, the most in the majors. Since May
9, Braves pinch-hitters have gone 10-for-19 (.526).