Friday, October 07, 2005

BRAVES ASTONISHING SEASON OF TRANSITION WITH SMOLTZ


The time has come when we should not suspect the grit and strong will-power of John Smoltz who has proudly lived up to the expectations of the people and has proved himself as one of the best big-game pitchers to ever come around. When he switched on to the started position the closer's role back, he emerged out as a confident player and rose to the like he did against Roger Clemens and the Astros at a misty Turner Field on Thursday night. While Roger Clemens scuffled painfully on the mound, Brian McCann emerged from the Atlanta Braves' dugout for a most unexpected curtain call. McCann hit a three-run homer off Clemens in his first postseason at-bat, sending John Smoltz and the Braves to a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros. Smoltz's seven solid innings and Brian McCann's memorable three-run homer helped the Braves that evened their National League Division Series against the Astros at a game each.

Smoltz battled through his shoulder stiffness that was nagging him from the last three weeks, but still he limited the Astros to one run and seven hits in seven innings. Smoltz repeated the history after six years when he pitched seven strong innings in his first October start since the 1999 World Series. Smoltz's after spending the last four postseasons as a closer delivered an unexpected performance. It is indeed incredible for someone who's long been one of baseball's best big-game pitchers. Smoltz broke a one-day tie with Houston's Andy Pettitte to reclaim the title of baseball's winningest postseason pitcher. This achievement has increased his career postseason wins to 15.

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