SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Vinny Castilla homered for the third time in
two games and Russ Ortiz won his fifth straight decision to lead
the Atlanta Braves to a 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday
and a four-game sweep.
The Braves won for the 27th time in their last 32 games to
improve to 31-13, the best record in the majors.
Marcus Giles, who was born and raised in San Diego County, drove
in Atlanta's first three runs and Chipper Jones hit a solo homer.
The Braves outscored the Padres 39-15 in their first four-game
sweep of San Diego since April 4-7, 1994, also in San Diego.
The Padres have lost five straight and 18 of their last 21. They
remain 2½ games above Detroit for the worst record in the majors.
Brian Lawrence, their opening day starter, lost his fifth straight
Castilla hit his sixth homer, a two-run shot into the seats in
left-center on the first pitch he saw from Lawrence (2-5) with one
out in the sixth to give the Braves a 5-1 lead. Robert Fick was
aboard on a leadoff single.
Castilla, who went 3-for-4, homered twice in Atlanta's 12-2 win
Jones also homered off Lawrence, a solo shot to left-center with
one out in the seventh. It was his seventh.
Ortiz (6-2) improved to 5-0 in his last six starts. He held the
Padres to two runs and seven hits in seven innings, struck out
seven and walked none. A former division rival with the San
Francisco Giants, Ortiz improved to 10-2 lifetime against the
Padres, including 6-0 in San Diego.
John Smoltz pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances.
As if the Braves needed any help, they got it anyway when Padres
second baseman Keith Lockhart, who played with Atlanta the previous
six seasons, misplayed Giles' popup to shallow right field into a
two-run single with two outs in the third.
With runners on second and third, Lockhart waved off first
baseman Ryan Klesko on Giles' popup, then watched the ball fall
several feet beyond his reach, allowing the Braves to go ahead 2-1.
Lawrence breezed through the first two innings, retiring six
batters on just 16 pitches. He then allowed singles to Javy Lopez
and Castilla opening the third. Ortiz advanced the runners with a
sacrifice bunt and Lawrence retired Rafael Furcal before Giles'
Lockhart hit a solo homer, his first, off Roberto Hernandez in
the eighth. Sean Burroughs had three hits and drove in a run for
The Padres went 1-6 on this homestand after going 1-5 on
their previous homestand. ... The Braves are 6-1 on a trip that
concludes with three games at Cincinnati starting Tuesday night.
... Padres catcher Miguel Ojeda, whose contract was purchased from
Mexico City on Saturday, singled to right in the fifth for his
first big league hit. Ojeda made his big league debut Saturday
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