The Braves Report: Ortiz shuts down the Devil Rays

<U><B>Braves 2, Devil Rays 0</B></U> <BR> Russ Ortiz pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning and Andruw Jones broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the sixth, leading the Atlanta Braves over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2-0 Sunday. <BR> <BR> <B><U>Down on the farm:</B></U> Jason Marquis pitched 5 strong innnings striking out five, and Johnny Estrada went 3-5 but the Richmond Braves still lost in extras on Sunday night. Myrtle Beach, Danville, Rome, and Orlando come away with wins.

Russ Ortiz turned in a solid performance, and Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez had timely RBI's, as the Braves beat the Devil Rays, 2-0, taking 2 out of 3 in the series.

Ortiz got off to a shaky start in the 1st. He recorded two quick outs, before issuing a pair of walks to Aubrey Huff and Ben Grieve. Al Martin followed with a sharp single to right, but Gary Sheffield fielded the ball cleanly and gunned down Huff trying to score to end the inning.

The game was on cruise control the rest of the way for Ortiz, allowing only two additional hits until being pulled for John Smoltz with 2 outs in the 8th. His line on the day: 7.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K. The victory improves his record to 10-4, becoming the first Brave to eclipse the 10 victory mark on the season. Smoltz picked up his 29th save of the season, tossing 1.1 innings of hitless ball.

The Braves hitters had a tough time with Rays starter Jorge Sosa before breaking through in the 6th. Sosa allowed the first two hitters of the inning to reach base, Marcus Giles on a hit by pitch and Gary Sheffield on a walk. Following a pop out by Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones hit a single to center, scoring Marcus Giles. Sosa closed out the inning without allowing any more damage.

It would be the 9th inning before the Braves would add another run, as Javy Lopez drove in Andruw Jones with a single to left. DH Matt Franco posted the only multi-hit game for the Braves, going 2-for-4 on the day. Marcus Giles was 1-for-2 on the day, and reached base 3 times, including a HBP.

After today's victory, the Braves make the shot trip across state to face the Florida Marlins. Greg Maddux (6-7) takes on Mark Redman (5-3) at 7:35 ET in the first game of a three game series.

Down on the farm

Richmond Braves 2, Indianapolis Indians (MIL) 3, 12 Innings -- Jason Marquis got the start for the R-Braves, allowing 2 runs - 1 earned - on 5 hits and 5 strikeouts in 5 innings, but the Braves fall to the Indians, 3-2, in 12 innings. Joe Dawley gave up a walk-off home run in the 12th to take the loss and fall to 2-3. C Johnny Estrada continued to swing a hot bat, going 3-for-5 on the day. 3B Wilson Betemit and 2B Nick Green each had a hit and an RBI in the loss.

Greenville Braves 1, Tennessee Smokies (STL) 4 -- Chris Waters allowed 2 runs in 6 innings of work, as the Braves drop one to the Smokies, 4-1. The loss drops him to 2-3 on the year. 3B Ramon Castro had the only multi-hit day for the Braves, going 2-for-4. Pinch hitter Ryan Langerhans was 1-for-1 and drove in the lone Braves run.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7, Frederick Keys (BAL) 2 -- Recent call-up Dan Meyer was outstanding in his first start for the Pelicans, allowing 1 unearned run on 4 hits in 6 innings of work, as the Pelicans handle the Keys, 7-2. Meyer fanned 8 and walked only 1 to go 1-0 for Myrtle Beach. LF Greg Miller was 2-for-5 with 2 RBI, and 3B Andy Marte had 2 RBI as well on a 1-for-4 day.

Charleston-SC RiverDogs (TB) 3, Rome Braves 5 -- Anthony Lerew improved his record to 5-3, as Rome wins one at home over the RiverDogs, 5-3. Lerew went 6 innings, giving up 1 earned run on 2 hits, with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. DH Brian McCann was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the victory.

Johnson City Cardinals 1, Danville Braves 7 -- Six Braves drove in at least one run, with 3B Ben Thomas leading the way with a 2-for-3, 2 RBI game, as Danville hammers Johnson City, 7-1. Danny Collins went 3 innings in the start, giving up the lone Cardinals run and fanning 4. Ryan Basner earned the victory in relief, allowing no runs on 2 hits and 2 K's in 3 innings of work.

Orlando Braves 4, Melbourne Marlins 2 -- The Braves were out hit 11 to 4, but put 4 runs on the board in the 8th to take the victory over the Marlins, 4-2. Luis Atilano tossed 5 innings in the start, allowing 2 earned runs on 6 hits, and Jose Ascanio picked up the win in relief, allowing 5 hits and no runs in 3 innings of work. 1B Carlos Moreta was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and C Junior Guerra drove in 2 RBI on a 1-for-4 day.

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