Unlike his much-heralded teammates, John Smoltz has nary a Cy Young Award.
In fact, after the weekend performances of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine - who have five between them - Smoltz is the closest thing the Atlanta Braves have to a stopper.And they needed one Sunday, after consecutive poundings resulted in 32 runs by the Colorado Rockies in the first two games of a series in Denver.
"We'd scored enough to win the other games, but our pitching couldn't hold them," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We needed something good from Smoltz."
They got just that in the form of eight shutout innings from their new ace, who wound up winning 8-3 to improve to 12-1.
Call him Cy Smoltz, winner of 12 straight decisions. He's the best pitcher on what for the moment is the second-best staff in baseball.
So thorough was the domination of the Rockies in the first two games that the Braves' major-league-leading earned run average had risen by the end of the third to 3.25. The Los Angeles Dodgers are now at 2.99.
Dodgers 3, Reds 2
Eric Karros had three hits, including a tie-breaking RBI double in the eighth inning as Los Angeles rallied to beat visiting Cincinnati.
Hideo Nomo (7-5) earned the victory after he was batted for during the Dodgers' decisive rally. They entered the inning trailing 2-1, with Karros' 11th homer the only run.
Mets 3, Marlins 0
Jason Isringhausen allowed six hits and struck out a career-high 10 in his first major league shutout, and Butch Huskey homered at New York.
The 25-year-old Isringhausen (3-7), who had five losses and a no-decision in his previous six starts, retired 14 of the last 16 batters he faced. He escaped a jam in the ninth inning, retiring Terry Pendleton on a popup after Gary Sheffield and Greg Colbrunn had singled.
Cubs 4, Expos 2
Ryne Sandberg hit a three-run homer into the fog, and Steve Trachsel lowered his ERA to 2.38 for Chicago.
Trachsel (4-4) gave up four hits and walked none over seven innings.
Astros 2, Phillies 1
Ricky Gutierrez continued his torrid hitting with a two-run single in the seventh inning, and Houston rode it to a three-game sweep at the Astrodome.
Gutierrez's decisive hit was the ninth in his last 11 at-bats, raising his average to .340.
Giants 9, Cardinals 0
Allen Watson pitched seven innings and had a key RBI during a six-run San Francisco sixth.
Watson (6-6) scattered seven hits and broke a personal three-game losing streak, walking two and striking out four. He is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the visiting Cardinals, who traded Watson and two other players to the Giants for shortstop Royce Clayton in the offseason.
Pirates 6, Padres 0
Danny Darwin pitched eight innings, and Pittsburgh pulled off a three-game sweep of San Diego, which committed a season-high four errors as its worst slump of the year continued.
While the Pirates won for the seventh time in eight games, the first-place Padres lost for the sixth time in seven.
White Sox 12, Orioles 9
Danny Tartabull homered and doubled during an eight-run fourth inning, and Chicago completed its first three-game sweep in Baltimore since 1987.
Frank Thomas also homered for the White Sox, while Cal Ripken and Rafael Palmeiro connected for the Orioles.
Roberto Alomar went 0-for-4, ending his hitting streak at 22 games. It was the longest streak of his career, and the longest in the majors this year.
Yankees 3, Tigers 2
Dwight Gooden earned his first road win in the AL, pitching eight sharp innings at Tiger Stadium. Detroit, with the worst record in the majors, was denied a three-game sweep of the first-place Yankees.
Gooden (5-4) gave up four hits, walked none and struck out six.
Mariners 3, Royals 2
Seattle rookie Andy Sheets, recalled from the minors Saturday after third baseman Russ Davis broke his leg, quickly atoned for a costly error in Kansas City with a game-ending double play.
The Mariners took a 3-1 lead into the ninth, but Sheets made a throwing error on Craig Paquette's leadoff grounder and Keith Lockhart tripled.
Joe Randa followed with a grounder that Sheets fielded for the first out, keeping the tying run at third. Sal Fasano then hit a line drive that Sheets caught, and he stepped on third to preserve the victory.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 20th home run for the Mariners.
Brewers 11, Red Sox 8, 10 innings
Milwaukee loaded the bases in the 10th without hitting the ball out of the infield, then John Jaha tripled to the deepest part of Fenway Park.
A walk, an infield single and a misplayed grounder set up Jaha. Tim Naehring hit his first career grand slam for Boston and Mo Vaughn had a two-run homer.
Rangers 8, Blue Jays 6
Juan Gonzalez hit a three-run homer and Texas completed a three-game sweep at home.
Gonzalez's 423-foot drive highlighted a five-run third inning. Mark McLemore had four hits for the Rangers and drove in two runs.
Twins 5, Athletics 3
Scott Stahoviak hit a two-run homer and Frank Rodriguez pitched an eight-hitter as Minnesota improved its record in June to 7-2 and its overall mark to 30-30.
Stahoviak's sixth homer of the season gave the Twins a 4-3 lead in the fourth. Rodriguez (5-6) won his second straight start, striking out seven and walking three.
Oakland's Mark McGwire hit a two-run homer in the first, his 15th of the season. At 475 feet, it was the longest ever hit to left field in the Metrodome.