xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

While many fans are dreading the approach of a baseball landmark -- namely Barry Bonds' ecliping Hank Aaron's career home run mark (even though Bonds has been homerless for weeks) -- anyone who enjoys the game should be able to join in in congratulating Braves pitcher John Smoltz for accomplishing a major league first.

Last night, Smoltz became the first pitcher ever to record 200 wins and 150 saves as he beat former teammate Tom Glavine and the Mets, 2-1.  Smoltz, who recently turned 40, had made a late career switch to the bullpen, where he excelled, before returning as a starter a few seasons ago. Starring in both roles likely punches his ticket to Cooperstown.

Advertisement

In his 19th big league season, Smoltz can hardly be accused of simply hanging on. Now 7-2, he leads the NL in wins, is fourth in strikeouts and sixth in ERA (2.69). His victory over Glavine yesterday was the third time he has faced his former teammate this season, and the Braves have won all three. He doesn't draw easy opponents, either. Earlier this month, Smoltz outdueled another ex-Brave, Greg Maddux, now with the San Diego Padres, 3-2.

* Now we enter the Twilight Zone with the Orioles. If you're following the misadvertures of our heroes, you may recall the Mother's Day Meltdown, when starter Jeremy Guthrie was pitching a gem against Boston until the bullpen and Danys Baez, in particular, blew a five-run lead in the ninth. Well, last night's 5-4 come-from-ahead loss to Tornoto wasn't quite as dramatic, but it counts just as much.

Advertisement

This time, Guthrie left after seven solid innings ahead, 4-3. Reliever John Parrish gave up an infield single and a double in the eighth that led to the tying run. And Baez, the fifth Orioles reliever, gave up the deciding run in the top of the 10th as the fans voiced their frustration.

* In the NBA Eastern Conference finals, Detroit went up 2-nil against Cleveland, replicating the first game almost exactly. The final score was the same, 79-76, and for the second straight time, Cleveland star LeBron James found himself with the ball and the final seconds ticking down. In the first game, he drove toward the basket and then passed to teammate Donyell Marshall, who missed a go-ahead three-pointer. Last night, he took the ball into the lane on a spin move, was or was not fouled (no whistle) by Rip Hamilton, and missed a short shot that was rebounded by teammate Larry Hughes, who then missed a wide-open, medium-range jumper.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement