Atlanta (79-54) at Washington (56-78)

  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Sep 4, 2004
  • TV: SPSO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Russ Ortiz will try to bounce back from his first loss in more than two months as the Atlanta Braves go for their fifth straight victory in the middle game of their series with the Montreal Expos.

Ortiz lost for the first time since June 20 on Sunday as he was beaten 9-5 by the San Francisco Giants. Ortiz was hammered for seven runs in five innings, including two mammoth home runs by Barry Bonds. Ortiz hadn’t lost in 12 starts, going 7-0 with five no-decisions before Sunday night—in the Braves’ last loss.

The Braves have won 10 of their last 11 games and have opened up an 8 1/2 game lead over the Florida Marlins, who had their weekend series with the Chicago Cubs postponed because of Hurricane Frances.

Atlanta took the opener of its series with Montreal 7-1 on Friday. Paul Byrd was stellar again, allowing four hits and one run before leaving in the eighth inning.

“He looks really good,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s pitched great for me. He hasn’t pitched a bad game yet. He’s sneaky quick. He knows how to change speeds and he can locate, and he’s tough to hit.”

J.D. Drew extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single in the third inning.

“I don’t think much about hitting streaks,” Drew said. “You’ve just got to try to get on base for those guys behind you and let them drive you in, so it’s working out well.”

Montreal continues to languish in last place in the NL East.

“When you don’t score runs you’re not going to win ballgames,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “And when you don’t have a very good ballgame pitching-wise, defensive-wise, and hitting-wise, you’re not going to beat the Braves.”

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Starting Pitchers

R. Ortiz LAD vs. J. Patterson TEX
15-9 Record 4-7
4.13 ERA 5.03
143 K 99
112 BB 46
1.51 WHIP 1.48