ATLANTA (AP) -- After the Braves rallied to tie the score, Adam
LaRoche had no doubts about the outcome.
"It's just a feeling in the dugout that we're going to win,"
the rookie first baseman said.
Marcus Giles hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the seventh
inning and Russ Ortiz kept up his domination of the Expos, helping
the Atlanta Braves beat Montreal 6-2 Saturday night.
LaRoche and J.D. Drew had solo shots for the Braves, who won for
the 14th time in 18 games and stayed one game behind Philadelphia
in the NL East.
Ortiz (11-6) won his fifth straight start and improved to 4-0
this season against the Expos. He allowed only one hit -- an RBI
single by Carl Everett in the first -- and pitched around five walks
in 7 2-3 innings. Ortiz was charged with two runs, increasing his
ERA against Montreal from 1.17 to 1.48.
"I feel like every time I go out I need to make these guys feel
that we're going to have a really, really good shot at winning,"
Ortiz said. "That's the most important thing a starter has to
John Smoltz got four outs for his 17th save in 19 chances.
LaRoche hit his homer off Tony Armas Jr., who gave up two runs
and six hits in six innings. Chad Bentz (0-3) came on in the
seventh and walked Rafael Furcal before Giles homered to left.
It was the first home run since May 2 for Giles -- he missed 52
games with a broken collarbone, and returned after the All-Star
"I think that's the first inside fastball I've gotten to since
I've been back," said Giles, who said his homer drought was the
longest since he was a 13-year-old in Pony League. "But I've been
seeing the ball pretty good."
Armas took a 2-1 lead into the sixth despite five walks of his
own, then gave up a one-out home run to LaRoche. The solo shot was
LaRoche's second since May 7.
Andruw Jones followed with a double down the left-field line,
then moved to third on an infield single by Charles Thomas. With
one out, Ortiz missed on a squeeze bunt attempt, and Jones was out
easily after a brief rundown.
The threat ended when Ortiz flied out to left.
"I'm disappointed I gave up so many walks," Armas said. "But
I always want to leave the game in a position where we can win."
Ortiz continued his first-inning struggles, walking Brad
Wilkerson and Jose Vidro. Everett brought home Wilkerson with a
single and Vidro scored on a forceout by Tony Batista.
So far this season, 15 of Ortiz's 46 earned runs have come in
"That's one of my biggest pet peeves as a pitcher, not making
guys swing the bat, just giving up a base," Ortiz said. "So after
that inning, I told myself I was not going to let that happen
That's what he did. Ortiz retired 21 of the final 24 batters he
faced -- he pitched around three more walks -- and allowed only three
balls to be hit to the outfield in that span.
In the ninth, LaRoche singled and advanced to third on Thomas'
double. Eddie Perez then hit a fly to Wilkerson in left, scoring
LaRoche. Thomas scored to make it 6-2 when Wilkerson made an errant
throw to third on the play.
The two hits allowed by the Braves were their fewest since they
gave up one to the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 4, 2002.
"I don't know how many games you can with two hits," Montreal
manager Frank Robinson said. "I'm surprised we stayed in the game
that long."Game notes
Jones hit into a double play in the fourth, his 19th of the
season. That's a new career high, and it leads the majors. ...
Everett made an incredible catch in the fifth inning, chasing down
a drive by Rafael Furcal. The ball bounced off the heel of
Everett's glove, then off his thigh before he grabbed it with his
bare hand just before he hit the wall.
- Home Plate Umpire - Dan Iassogna
- First Base Umpire - Jeff Kellogg
- Second Base Umpire - Doug Eddings
- Third Base Umpire - Charlie Reliford