Ortiz has now won nine of his last 10

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Russ Ortiz worked into the ninth inning to

become the second 16-game winner in the major leagues and the

Atlanta Braves hit four home runs in a 7-2 victory over the St.

Louis Cardinals Friday night.

Ortiz (16-5) allowed two runs on five hits in eight-plus

innings, joining Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays as the top winners.

He's won nine of his last 10 and has never lost consecutive

decisions, bouncing back in this one after a loss in his last start

to the Dodgers.

Gary Sheffield, Marcus Giles, Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez

homered for the Braves, who lead the NL with 174.

Albert Pujols doubled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak

to 22 games for the Cardinals, who have lost three of the first

four on a six-game homestand. Pujols, who got his 100th RBI and

scored his 100th run on Thursday, is batting .395 (34-for-86)

during the streak and a major-league best .371 overall.

The Braves have won eight in a row over the Cardinals dating to

last season, including a three-game sweep in Atlanta in April. The

NL West leaders are 76-39, matching the best start in franchise

history, set in 1998 and matched last season.

Sheffield, who entered the game with a major league-leading .361

road average, hit his 28th homer in the first inning off Jeff

Fassero (1-6). Giles hit his 14th, a two-run shot and his third

homer in as many games, in the third for a 3-0 lead.

Jones hit his 29th homer, a two-run shot to center off Esteban

Yan, for a 6-2 lead in the eighth. Lopez, the next batter, also

connected to center for his 31st homer.

Ortiz scattered five hits and had six strikeouts and four walks,

leaving after walking Scott Rolen to start the ninth. The only

blemish was a two-run double by Edgar Renteria in the fourth after

Tino Martinez and Rolen drew successive one-out walks.

The Cardinals missed another chance to score in the second after

Martinez and Rolen got leadoff singles to put runners at the

corners. St. Louis was 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and

is 3-for-25 in that situation during the homestand.

Fassero had come out of the bullpen to give the Cardinals'

struggling rotation a boost with three straight effective starts.

But he lasted only 3 2-3 innings against the Braves, allowing four

runs on five hits.

^Notes:@ Fassero made his first start against the Braves since July

8, 2000 and he's 0-7 in nine starts since his last win over Atlanta

on Sept. 22, 1993. ... Ortiz reached 100 strikeouts for the fifth

straight year when he fanned Bo Hart to start the first. ...

Orlando Palmeiro is 12-for-34 as a pinch hitter after singling in

the seventh. ... Hart is 1-for-15 on the homestand to drop his

average to .299. ... LF Chipper Jones and SS Rafael Furcal got the

night off for the Braves. ... The Braves are 24-8 in their last 32

games and are a season-best 37 games above .500. ... Pujols' streak

is the Cardinals' longest since Joe McEwing hit in 25 straight

games in 1999. ... The Cardinals have been held to eight runs the

first four games of the homestand.