Although the Atlanta Braves’ most recent stay atop the NL East was brief, they’re hoping to be back soon.
Montreal won 5-1 on Friday, dropping the Braves a game behind Philadelphia in the division a night after they grabbed a share of the top spot for the first time since April 8. The Phillies beat the New York Mets 5-1 on Friday.
“It’s not a cakewalk going down the stretch,” said right fielder J.D. Drew, who drove in the Braves’ only run. “It’s going to be what I’ve said all along, a battle. Hopefully, this pushes us to another level.”
Drew and Charles Thomas each had two hits for Atlanta, which lost for just the fourth time in 17 games.
Ortiz will be looking to win his fifth straight start. He gave up four runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-4 victory over Philadelphia in his last outing on July 11. He had allowed just one run in 21 2-3 innings in his previous two starts, striking out 14 while walking just seven.
A 21-game winner last season, Ortiz started the season 3-4, but has gone 7-2 since May 15. He has not lost since June 20, when he gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-2 loss to Cleveland.
“Any win around here right now is a positive thing,” said starter John Patterson, who returned from the disabled list to earn the win.