The .500 mark is starting to look like a major hurdle for the Atlanta Braves now.
They’ll try to inch closer to that point again as they complete a three-game series with the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium.
The Braves, winner of 12 straight division titles, were at .500 on May 5, at 13-13. They have twice gotten within a game of the break even mark since, only to lose the next three each time.
After coming into Tuesday’s game with victories in four of its previous five and a game below .500, Atlanta took another step backward by losing 3-1.
Russ Ortiz, who led the National League with a career-high 21 wins last season, starts for the Braves in this game. The right-hander limited the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers to four hits over seven innnings of a 2-0 victory at home Friday. He walked five, but struck out seven as he rebounded from a May 15 outing at Milwaukee in which he surrendered four runs and walked seven in just 1 1-3 innings.
“There’s a bigger fire in your belly after a game like that,” said Ortiz, 2-1 with a 2.99 ERA in his last four starts. “You want to go out and have a good, solid start.”
Montreal, though, is still batting a major league-worst .225 and owns the league’s worst record at 15-30.