Smith outlasted relievers like Joe Sambito
and Frank DiPino
to become Houston's bullpen ace and the Astros' all-time saves and games-pitched leader. In his only major league start (1982), Smith committed three balks. He became Houston's closer in 1985, with 27 saves in 31 opportunities. In 1986 Smith set a Houston record with 33 saves and was a member of the All-Star team. After allowing a home run to Darryl Strawberry
of the Mets on July 19, 1986
, Smith did not allowed another until Len Dykstra
's game-winning blow in the ninth inning of the third game of the LCS. In the decisive sixth game, won by New York in 16 innings, Smith surrendered two walks and a game-tying sacrifice fly in the ninth. (Smith consistently had trouble with the Mets.) The following season, he did not allow any home runs.