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GAME OF THE DAY

Smoltz loses bid for first no-hitter in 8th

September 08, 2007|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA -- John Smoltz lost a shot at his first no-hitter in the first three innings.

Oh sure, the scorebook will show that Washington's Ronnie Belliard broke it up with a clean single leading off the eighth. But Smoltz looked back at those early innings, when he burned 48 pitches and didn't have enough left at the end to finish the Atlanta Braves' 7-1 victory over the Nationals.

"It had a chance to be a magical night," the 40-year-old Smoltz said. "I really felt like it would be. Unfortunately, I ran out of gas."

The only pitcher in baseball history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves, Smoltz had the crowd on its feet when he walked slowly to the mound to begin the eighth. He got ahead in the count 1-2, but Belliard lined the next pitch in front of Jeff Francoeur for a clean single to right.

For a split second, Francoeur thought of throwing to first in hopes of getting Belliard. "That would have been pretty cool," the outfielder said, but he had no chance of pulling it off.

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