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Braves 4, Dodgers 0

ATLANTA (AP) - John Smoltz beat the Dodgers for the first time in more than eight years, pitching seven shutout innings to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 4-to-0 victory over Los Angeles in a matchup of first-place teams.

Brian McCann returned to the lineup with a two-run double and Jeff Francoeur drove in Atlanta's other runs with a fifth-inning single in last night's game.

That was plenty for Smoltz (4-1), who escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the fourth on the way to his first win over Los Angeles since April 19th, 1999. Eleven days shy of his 40th birthday, he picked up his 197th career win.

Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano finished off the eight-hit shutout with one scoreless inning apiece, assuring the Braves of remaining at least tied for first in the N-L East. They came into the night tied with the New York Mets.

Brett Tomko (0-3) surrendered a season-high six walks and went to three balls on two other hitters in four and two-thirds innings. The Braves forced him to throw strikes and took advantage when he did, scoring all their runs with two outs.

Smoltz walked two, while striking out six. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of his seven starts this season.

Smoltz's career mark against Los Angeles improved to 16-and-13. But he had fewer chances to beat the Dodgers while missing all of 2000 recovering from elbow surgery, then spending three-plus seasons as the closer, picking up 154 saves.


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