Atlanta (21-22) at Washington (14-30)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Montreal, QC
Temp: 36° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue May 25, 2004
  • TV: TBS, RDS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves have not been at .500 in nearly three weeks.

Horacio Ramirez will try to get them there when they meet the Montreal Expos in the middle game of their series at Olympic Stadium.

Ramirez has been masterful in his two most recent starts. After allowing five hits over eight innings in a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on May 14, he was even better in a 5-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

The 24-year-old left-hander gave up just three hits in his second career complete game.

“All his pitches are working,” Braves catcher Eddie Perez said. “I’m not mad at him when he shakes me off because everything is working. He’s pitching good and hopefully he can pitch like that the rest of the year.”

Although his 2.04 ERA is second-best in the National League, Ramirez realizes he might have a few rough starts as the season progresses.

“It’s May,” Ramirez said with a shrug. “If it’s still that low in September, maybe I’ll have something to shout about. The biggest thing is to be consistent. The good ones are consistent. The good ones find a way to get it done. I’m trying to be good.”

Ramirez will now try to lift the Braves to .500 for the first time since they were 13-13 on May 5.

Andruw Jones homered twice Monday, and John Thomson pitched seven strong innings to lead the Braves to a 5-0 win in the series opener.

J.D. Drew also homered for the Braves, who have won four of five.

“We’re just trying to get back on a roll,” Jones said. “We didn’t start the season the way we wanted to. Hopefully, we can build our confidence and get back on track.”

Jones’ multihomer game was the 19th of his career, but it was just the first by an Atlanta player this season.

Playing before only 4,675 fans, Montreal lost its fifth straight one day after the finale of its three-game series against San Francisco was rained out in Puerto Rico.

The Expos have been shut out eight times this season.

“It is surprising,” Expos first baseman Brad Wilkerson said. “We’ve just got to do a better job of knocking in runs.”

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Starting Pitchers

H. Ramirez ChC vs. T. Ohka Tor
2-4 Record 3-7
2.39 ERA 3.40
31 K 38
30 BB 20
1.34 WHIP 1.39