Ortiz, Smoltz combine for shutout

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Russ Ortiz earned his first victory in June

with a performance that was more of an escape act than a pitching


Ortiz scattered seven hits over seven innings while repeatedly

working out of trouble, and the Atlanta Braves scored early and

late Saturday in a 5-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Ortiz (7-6) walked two and struck out four. He yielded at least

one hit in every inning but the second, yet permitted only one

runner to get as far as third base.

The right-hander was 0-2 in four starts this month after going

4-1 in May.

"The first outing this month was OK. The next couple were

pretty good, but the last one I didn't feel like I was at all

aggressive," he said, referring to a poor outing against

Cleveland. "This time, I said I'm going to be aggressive with

everything, trying to get ahead and use all my pitches. I set my

mind to do that and it worked out."

Ortiz was replaced by John Smoltz after walking David Newhan to

open the eighth with the score 2-0. Miguel Tejada singled on the

first pitch, but Smoltz retired Rafael Palmeiro on a popup before

getting former Braves catcher Javy Lopez to hit into a double play.

"I would say that was huge," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

"Javy could change that game around like a heartbeat."

Atlanta then scored three in the ninth against Jorge Julio on an

RBI single by Julio Franco and run-scoring doubles by Charles

Thomas and Eli Marrero.

The 45-year-old Franco has 26 RBI, a major league record by a

player 45 or older. Pete Rose had 25 in 1986, also at age 45.

The Orioles had runners on second and third with one out in the

ninth, but Smoltz got out of the jam to earn his 12th save and seal

the Braves' third win in 10 games.

Atlanta got all the offense it needed in the first inning

against Rodrigo Lopez (5-4). After Rafael Furcal hit a leadoff

single, Newhan threw wildly to first after picking up Nick Green's

sacrifice bunt down the third-base line.

"I had a little bit of trouble with the transfer," Newhan


A walk loaded the bases, and Chipper Jones drove in a run with a

grounder before Johnny Estrada hit a sacrifice fly.

"It helps any pitcher when you get ahead," Ortiz said. "It

makes them a little defensive."

Before the game, the Orioles reassigned pitching coach Mark

Wiley and replaced him with Ray Miller, who was assigned the task

of improving a staff that led the AL in walks and ranked last in


Baltimore's shortcoming Saturday wasn't pitching, as Lopez

allowed five hits, one walk and no earned runs in seven innings in

his return to the starting rotation.

"I thought he was tremendous," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli


But the Orioles couldn't back him with any runs. Baltimore

stranded 10 and went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

"We had our chances," Mazzilli said. "We hit the ball hard

early in the game, with line drives, but they didn't fall in. It's

just bad luck, and there's nothing you can do about it."

In the fourth, Tejada singled with one out and took third on a

double by Palmeiro, but Ortiz struck out Lopez and retired Jay

Gibbons on a grounder.

The Orioles got two on with one out in the fifth before Ortiz

worked out of trouble, and Baltimore also wasted a leadoff double

by Luis Matos in the seventh.Game notes
The game attracted 47,438, the Orioles' fifth sellout and

third of the week. ... Baltimore 3B Melvin Mora was back on the

bench after aggravating a foot injury on Friday night. He's missed

seven of eight games. ... The teams wore 1968 replica uniforms. ...

Franco went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts before his ninth-inning