Tuesday, June 3, 2008
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ATLANTA - John Smoltz's return to the mound as a closer didn't go like he wanted. Still, the Atlanta Braves actually managed to win a close game.
Yunel Escobar hit the first game-ending homer of his career, a two-run shot in the 10th inning, and the Braves rallied for a 7-5 victory over the Florida Marlins on Monday night.
Pitching in relief for the first time since 2004, Smoltz came on in the ninth with a 4-3 lead. The Marlins were down to their last out when Jeremy Hermida drove in two runs with a single.
But Jeff Francoeur hustled home on a wild pitch in the bottom half to get Smoltz off the hook, and Escobar won it in the 10th with a drive that bounced off the top of the wall in right center and into the seats.
The Braves, who have a 2-16 record in one-run games, didn't improve on that mark. But they'll take it after getting swept in Cincinnati last weekend.