Braves entertain Astros on Wednesday in playoff opener

ATLANTA (AP)_John Smoltz will get the nod when the Atlanta Braves begin their quest for another World Series title, taking on the Houston Astros in the opener of their best-of-five playoff series on Wednesday.

The game will be televised by ESPN, with the first pitch slated for 4:09 p-m.

Smoltz had a 14-and-7 record in the regular season. The Astros will counter with southpaw Andy Pettittee, who was 17-and-9 in the regular season.

Game Two of the series is set for 8:19 p-m Thursday night on Fox, with Tim Hudson (14-and-9) going for the Braves and Roger Clemens (13-and-8) for the Astros.

Friday will be an off day, with the series shifting to Houston for Game Three on Saturday. Game Four would be played in Houston if necessary on Sunday and Game Five, if required, would be back in Atlanta one week from today.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.