Atlanta (53-46) at Pittsburgh (48-50)

Fair Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Jul 28, 2004
  • TV: FSS, FSPI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Atlanta starter Russ Ortiz did everything he could in his last outing to earn his 100th win, but came up just short.

He’ll get another chance when the Braves continue their four-game series with the streaking Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Ortiz allowed just one run and six hits over eight innings in the Braves’ 2-1, 10-inning win over the Pirates on Thursday, but had his five-start winning streak snapped.

“That’s a fun game to be in on my side,” he said. “As a starting pitcher, you have to look at it as being fun, because you have to be locked in all the time. There’s no room for error.”

Ortiz suffered a slight groin pull during the outing, but said it hasn’t bothered him this week and shouldn’t be a factor Wednesday.

The right-hander has allowed just eight runs in 43 innings since his winning streak began, earning a 1.67 ERA over that span.

Ortiz, who won 21 games last season, should have another good chance on Wednesday to earn his 100th victory. In 10 career appearances, including nine starts, against Pittsburgh, he is 6-0 with a 3.04 ERA.

However, the Pirates will not be a pushover. They beat the Braves 8-4 on Tuesday for their 15th win in 17 home games.

The win moved Pittsburgh out of last place in the NL Central for the first time since early May. The Pirates, who were 15 games below .500 on June 22 after losing 21 of 25, are now just two games below the break-even mark.

“We’re getting better, we’re starting to pick it up, but we got lucky tonight,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We weren’t in it at all … until we got some breaks.”

Jason Kendall homered for Pittsburgh, which got four runs on a bases-loaded double from Rob Mackowiak, who came around to score when catcher Johnny Estrada made two errors in a span of seconds.

Estrada, who homered and doubled, also allowed a run to score on a passed ball.

“I’ve never seen Johnny have a bad night behind the plate,” said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, whose team had its four-game winning streak snapped. “We haven’t had a night like that since the first month of the season.”

Estrada was frustrated with his performance.

“Debacle,” he said. “I’ve never used that (word) actually, but we went from having a two-run cushion to just falling apart. … It was a debacle.”

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Starting Pitchers

R. Ortiz LAD vs. O. Pérez Ari
15-9 Record 12-10
4.13 ERA 2.98
143 K 239
112 BB 81
1.51 WHIP 1.15