Andruw Jones hit the longest homer ever at Petco Park, a
453-foot shot that went deep into the second deck in left-center
field, and three other Braves connected in an 11-3 rout of the NL
West-leading San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
Chipper Jones extended his hitting streak to 15 games, with his
single and double that gave him 1,902 hits and moved him past Dale
Murphy and into first-place on Atlanta's career list. Jones' RBI
double in the sixth inning gave him an extra-base hit in 13
straight games, the longest streak since Pittsburgh's Paul Waner
set the major league record with an extra-base hit in 14
consecutive games in 1927.
And Smoltz beat San Diego for the third straight time this year,
holding them to 15 hits in 23 scoreless innings.
After winning 14 straight division titles, the Braves are 12
games behind the New York Mets in the NL East, even after winning
four straight and 8 of 10.
The hot streak is mostly because of the Joneses.
"You hate to say that's what it's going to take to get us into
it, but that's what it's going to take," Smoltz said. "Those guys
are extremely hot. They have to pick up the slack and carry us for
some of the things that we're not doing.
"And that's why I echo again -- I sure hope we make some
moves," Smoltz said. "I hope we do something. If we can crawl
back into this, it would be nothing more than to give us some
veteran help down there because we're relying on a lot of young
Asked if he was referring to the Braves' bullpen, which has been
shaky, he said: "Any area that we need strengthened. It is what it
is. That's why Andruw and Chipper are so vital.
"It just would help," Smoltz said. "Hopefully we can play our
way into a position where maybe that move can be made, but
certainly we could shore up a couple of things."
The Braves were 4½ games out of first at the end of May, but
went 6-21 in June, including a 10-game losing streak, to drop 13½
Told of Smoltz's comments, Chipper Jones said: "I'll let the
19-year vet say that."
Smoltz won his third straight start overall, and his third
against San Diego this year. He had two hits, including a double
ahead of Wilson Betemit's two-run homer in the seventh that made it
11-0. Smoltz (7-5) held San Diego to five hits in seven scoreless
innings, with six strikeouts and only one walk.
"I've seen enough of Smoltz," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.
"It is remarkable how well he is throwing the ball. Great command.
I don't know if there is a better athlete on the field."
Said Mike Piazza: "He's definitely up there with the greats
when he's on."
The Braves have hit nine homers in two games, including five in
Friday night's 15-12 win in 11 innings, the highest-scoring game in
Petco's three-year history.
Andruw Jones nearly swung out of his spikes when he sent a a 1-1
pitch from Chan Ho Park (6-5) rocketing into the second deck with
one out in the fourth inning, his 22nd.
"He takes a full cut up there," Piazza said. "He's been
hitting the ball pretty well the last couple of years. You make a
mistake and he's going to hurt you."
Jones leads all visiting players with eight homers at Petco
"He just threw it right in my power alley and I had a good
swing," said Jones, who has homered twice and driven in six runs
in two games.
He came up with the bases loaded with one out in the fifth
inning and lined a two-run double off the left-field wall. Thorman
opened the inning with a homer to center, his third.
The Braves added five runs in the sixth, three of which were
unearned due to Park's throwing error when he tried to force
Betemit at second on Edgar Renteria's one-out comebacker. With
Brian Sikorski pitching, Chipper Jones hit an RBI double, and
McCann hit a three-run shot into the home-run porch down the
right-field line with two outs, his seventh.
Betemit's homer in the seventh was his sixth.
Park went 5 1-3 innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs,
five earned. He walked four and struck out two.
Betemit started in place of 2B Marcus Giles, who jammed his
thumb sliding headfirst into second base in the first inning Friday
night. ... In franchise history, Chipper Jones trails only Hank
Aaron (3,600 hits) and Eddie Mathews (2,201).