ST. LOUIS -- Lee Smith became only the fifth pitcher in history to record 300 saves, boosting his credentials for a possible spot in the Hall of Fame.
Smith pitched the ninth inning Sunday for his National League-leading 35th save and the Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-2, for a sweep of their three-game series.
'Three hundred saves means there were 300 wins,' said St. Louis Manager Joe Torre. 'Three hundred wins usually gets a pitcher into the Hall of Fame. Three hundred saves may be able to put you in the same category.'
Smith joined Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Jeff Reardon and Goose Gossage in the 300 save club.
Both Torre and Smith said they believed the big right-hander's stints with the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox made him a better pitcher.
'I think Wrigley Field was the best thing that ever happened to me,' Smith said. 'Pitching there and in Fenway Park, you have to make good pitches.'
'He's been durable for a guy who's thrown that hard for so many years,' Torre said. 'Pitching in Chicago and Boston got him used to pitching as opposed to just throwing the ball in those small ballparks.'
But Smith said he placed little significance on the milestone.
'I don't think about numbers,' he said. 'At the end of the season, I'll look at my stats. I don't look at them during the season.'
Rookie Rheal Cormier, 2-1, gave up six hits over 5 2-3 innings for the win, striking out four batters and walking none.
Cormier was knocked out in the sixth inning when Darryl Strawberry's two-out line drive struck him on the left arm and bounced off for an infield single.
'It just kind of glanced off my arm, but I knew I would have to come out of the game,' Cormier said. 'It was right on the arm, and if you keep on throwing, you might pull something else.'
Preliminary X-rays indicated no fracture, and Torre said he would have to wait to see how quickly the swelling goes down before deciding whether Cormier will be ready for his next start.
The victory allowed St. Louis to remain five games behind Pittsburgh in the National League East.
Los Angeles starter Tim Belcher, 8-8, gave up eight hits and four runs in six innings, walking two and striking out one.
The Dodgers have a record of 19-24 since the All-Star break and a road mark of 29-34 on the season.
'I don't think it's exactly just a road thing,' Belcher said. 'We've been a bad team since the All-Star break.'
'We had a lot of opportunities with two outs, and we couldn't capitalize on those opportunities to score runs,' Los Angeles Manager Tommy Lasorda said. 'In the first part of the year, we were getting big hits with two outs. We're not doing that now.'
The Cardinals broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the third inning. Cormier singled and scored on Todd Zeile's infield single. Zeile went 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored.
St. Louis pushed its lead to 4-1 in the sixth. Rex Hudler singled in one run and Tom Pagnozzi's sacrifice bunt drove in another.
The Dodgers had cut the deficit to 4-2 in the seventh on an RBI single by Brett Butler.
St. Louis added a run in the seventh on an RBI double by Ozzie Smith.
Each team scored a run in the first inning. Butler led off the game with a single and later scored on Strawberry's groundout.
St. Louis tied the score in the bottom of the first on Zeile's RBI ground-rule double.