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Smoltz set for first Busch start with Cards

Smoltz set for first Cards start at home

ST. LOUIS -- John Smoltz couldn't have asked for a better debut with the Cardinals when he struck out nine and tossed five scoreless innings on Sunday in San Diego.

He now gets to introduce himself to the home crowd, as he makes his first start at Busch Stadium as a Cardinal on Friday night against Washington.

"I'm sure I will be going through more than I want to be going through," Smoltz said. "I am probably going to be blown away. It's a great place and a great environment to play, and hopefully I can be better than I have in the past when it comes to that anxious moment of wanting to do well for the home folks."

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Smoltz will almost surely be greeted by a standing ovations -- both when he takes the hill and during his first at-bat -- by Cardinals fans, who have already impressed the righty during his short time in town.

"It's been unbelievable," Smoltz said. "Obviously, I haven't been to many places, but wherever I have gone, it's been more than I could have imagined."

Smoltz was designated for assignment by Boston and later released after going 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA in eight starts for the Red Sox. He signed with the Cardinals soon after and looked like the Smoltz of old when he struck out a Cardinals record seven straight batters on Sunday.

"I certainly couldn't have asked for a better start," Smoltz said. "I haven't historically had a lot of those, and I've always said, 'Give me time, and I'll be fine.' I'm not getting carried away with one start. I have a lot of work to do still. I'm approaching it totally different this time around, and that's why I think I will be benefiting from what the organization has allowed me to do."

The plan was for Smoltz to move to the bullpen following Friday's start, but things may change with Kyle Lohse on the disabled list with a strained groin. Regardless of what happens next for Smoltz, he's just happy to be a positive part of a winning clubhouse again.

"These guys are a lot of fun," Smoltz said. "Obviously, winning spurns a lot of it, but the atmosphere and the facilities are second to none. I don't say that because I'm standing here. I'm used to one thing over the course of my career, and this place has been amazing the way they lay it out, what they do, how they do it and they surround themselves with the greatest chances to win."

Pitching matchup
STL: RHP John Smoltz (3-5, 7.40 ERA)
In his previous start -- his first as a member of the Cardinals -- Smoltz made a mechanical adjustment, getting his heel closer to the pitching rubber. The Cardinals claim he also stopped tipping his pitches. Oh, and also, he was facing the Padres at PETCO Park. Whatever the reason, his first start back in the National League was excellent, and exciting. The right-hander will try to make it 2-for-2 when he goes up against the Nationals at Busch Stadium.

WSH: LHP John Lannan (8-9, 4.03 ERA)
The Nationals overcame a poor outing on Saturday by Lannan, who took a no-decision. By the time he left the game in the bottom of the second inning, the Brewers had a 6-0 lead. The month of August has been a rough one for Lannan, who has given up 19 runs in 18 innings. Right now, Lannan doesn't have any answers as to why he has been ineffective this month.

Tidbits
Closer Ryan Franklin has saves in each of his past 10 appearances. He's the fourth Cardinals closer with a double-digit save streak since 1954. He became the seventh Cardinals pitcher to reach 30 saves. ... Cardinals pitchers lead the Major Leagues this season with 15 games without issuing a walk.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-M HD

On radio
• KTRS 550

Up next
• Saturday: Cardinals (Mitchell Boggs, 1-2, 4.58) vs. Nationals (Craig Stammen, 4-6, 5.08), 6:15 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, 15-7, 2.50) vs. Nationals (Garrett Mock, 3-5, 5.23), 1:15 p.m. CT
• Monday: Off-day

B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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