Atlanta (68-51) at Los Angeles (70-49)

  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Thu Aug 19, 2004
  • TV: TBS, FSN2
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Russ Ortiz has not lost in 10 starts, but he was not at all pleased with his most recent outing.

Ortiz will look for a better effort when the Atlanta Braves open a four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in a matchup of NL division leaders.

The 30-year-old right-hander allowed six runs and eight hits over five innings Saturday, but did not get a decision in the Braves’ 9-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ortiz, who had allowed just six runs over 27 2-3 innings in his previous four starts, struck out five and walked four.

“I actually did get ahead of a lot of hitters,” said Ortiz, who is 7-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 10 starts since June 26.

“The problem part was finishing them off. No matter how good these hitters are, whenever I get ahead, I feel like I can get the guys out if I make my pitches. I just made too many mistakes.”

Atlanta, which holds an eight-game lead over Florida in the NL East, heads to Los Angeles after opening a seven-game road trip by taking two of three in San Diego.

Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer off Trevor Hoffman in the top of the ninth Wednesday to lift the Braves to a 6-5 win over the Padres. John Smoltz closed out the win for his 31st save of the season and the 141st of his career—tying Gene Garber for the most in franchise history.

The NL West-leading Dodgers have alternated wins and losses for eight consecutive games.

Eric Gagne, last season’s NL Cy Young Award winner, allowed four runs in the ninth inning Wednesday in a 6-4 loss to the Florida Marlins.

It was just Gagne’s second blown save in 100 chances dating to Aug. 26, 2002. He has 142 saves over the past three seasons, tying Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for the most in a three-year span. Eckersley did it from 1990-92.

Gagne’s other blown save in 37 chances this season came against Arizona on July 5, when he also failed to protect a two-run lead. That ended his streak of 84 consecutive saves, a major league record.

Steve Finley and Milton Bradley hit consecutive homers in the third inning Wednesday, the 12th time this season the Dodgers have hit back-to-back homers.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Ortiz LAD vs. K. Ishii NYM
15-9 Record 13-8
4.13 ERA 4.71
143 K 99
112 BB 98
1.51 WHIP 1.47