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From the mound or the plate, Smoltz is tearing up the NL

Braves 9, Devil Rays 5

It wasn't enough for John Smoltz to be one of the top pitchers in the National League. Now he's one of the top hitters.Smoltz hit a three-run homer and won for the 19th time in 21 decisions since last summer's All-Star break, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 9-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Monday night.

"I was just fortunate to get a pitch, swung hard and was lucky enough to have it go over the fence," said Smoltz, who was trailing 3-0 when he homered in the second inning.

Smoltz (7-1) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He is hitting .400 at the plate (10-for-25).

"It was ugly, but you have to win these type games," said Smoltz, who got his 2,000th career strikeout in the first inning.

At Atlanta, Wade Boggs made two errors that helped Atlanta score six unearned runs.

Jose Canseco hit his major league-leading 22nd homer for Tampa Bay, which has lost four straight. Dave Eiland (0-2) allowed seven runs and five hits in three innings. John Rocker got the final out for his 13th save.

PHILLIES 6, YANKEES 5: Paul Byrd (8-3) held New York to two runs and six hits in eight innings at Veterans Stadium, where the Yankees are 0-4. Rico Brogna hit a two-run homer in the first off Andy Pettitte (3-4) and Scott Rolen added a solo shot in the sixth.

After the Yankees scored three runs in the ninth, Bernie Williams hit a game-ending grounder with two on.

RANGERS 3, DODGERS 2: Aaron Sele (6-4) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, and Rafael Palmeiro's eighth-inning single off Ismael Valdes (5-4) broke a 1-all tie. Ivan Rodriguez followed with another RBI single as visiting Texas won for the 11th time in 13 games.

John Wetteland pitched a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 20th save. Los Angeles has lost five of seven and dropped to 28-28.

EXPOS 8, RED SOX 2: Carl Pavano (4-5), acquired from Boston in the November 1997 Pedro Martinez deal, allowed two runs and six hits in eight innings and sent visiting Boston to its third straight loss.

Orlando Cabrera doubled, tripled and hit a two-run homer in the eighth off reliever John Wasdin. Orlando Merced also hit a two-run homer for the Expos, who drew just 7,003.

TIGERS 9, PIRATES 4: Karim Garcia, Brad Ausmus and Damion Easley homered at Tiger Stadium, and Detroit reliever Will Brunson (1-0) got three outs for his first major league victory. Jason Schmidt (5-4) was the loser.

METS 8, BLUE JAYS 2: Benny Agbayani hit two solo home runs at Shea Stadium, and Mike Piazza homered for the second straight day.

Orel Hershiser (5-5) earned his 195th career victory, giving New York its second straight win following an eight-game losing streak.

ASTROS 8, WHITE SOX 2: Jose Lima (10-2) became the NL's first 10-game winner, scattering eight hits at Comiskey Park in his third complete game.

Houston had 17 hits, one short of its season high. John Snyder (6-5) lost his fourth consecutive start.

TWINS 8, REDS 6: Steve Avery (3-5) was tagged for seven runs and six hits in one-plus inning at the Metrodome -- his shortest start in three seasons -- as Minnesota stopped Cincinnati's eight-game winning streak.

Rookie Mike Lincoln (2-8), given a 7-1 lead, stopped a four-game losing streak. Mike Trombley struck out the side in the ninth for his fourth save.

CARDINALS 7, ROYALS 5: Shawon Dunston, filling in because Mark McGwire sat out with a sore back, hit a two-run homer at Kauffman Stadium to help send Kansas City to its ninth straight loss.

The Royals are on the longest losing streak in the major leagues this season. and the longest for the Royals since a nine-game skid from April 15-25, 1992.

MARINERS 4, ROCKIES 2: Rookie John Halama (4-2) allowed two runs and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings and got his first major league hit, a double that triggered a two-run fifth at Coors Field. Rockies starter Bobby Jones (1-5) lost his fourth straight decision.

GIANTS 5, ANGELS 2: Chuck Finley (4-6) didn't allow an earned run, but his throwing error led to four runs, including three on F.P. Santangelo's homer.

Russ Ortiz (7-4) allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings at San Francisco.


CUBS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 6: At Phoenix, Sammy Sosa drove in four runs with his league-leading 20th home run and a single, and Mark Grace broke a ninth-inning tie with a single as Chicago beat Arizona in the only NL game Monday night.

Sosa gave the Cubs leads twice -- breaking up a scoreless game with his two-run homer in the fourth, and making it 5-3 with a bases-loaded single in the fifth.