Originally created 05/05/04

Ortiz throws Braves a win



ATLANTA - Atlanta catcher Johnny Estrada, who moved into the cleanup spot when J.D. Drew reported to work with a stiff neck, scored three times, and backup outfielder Damon Hollins knocked in three runs in Tuesday night's 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres before a Turner Field crowd of 22,046 fans.

But the biggest lift came from Russ Ortiz, who entered the game having won 11 of 13 career decisions against the Padres. The 29-year-old right-hander pitched into the seventh inning for the fourth time in six starts this season.

Atlanta, who hasn't had Chipper Jones to lean on for the past two weeks, started without leadoff man Rafael Furcal and Drew, forcing manager Bobby Cox to patch together his 21st different lineup in the team's 25th game.

He chose Hollins, a 29-year-old rookie who started the season at Class AAA Richmond, to replace Drew, and Hollins knocked in the first run against Padres starter Adam Eaton, after Estrada's single and Adam LaRoche's double in the second with a roller to second baseman Mark Loretta.

A walk, third baseman Sean Burroughs' throwing error, and LaRoche's 400-foot single off the center-field wall loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, and Hollins collected his second RBI of the night with another infield tapper. Jesse Garcia, replacing Furcal at shortstop, followed with a two-out single to left to make it 3-0.

That was more than enough for Ortiz, who took the sting out of a 5-7 trip by cruising through 61/3 innings. When rookie shortstop Khalil Greene doubled in the third, Ortiz retired the next two Padres, then didn't allow another runner to advance past first until the sixth.

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.

Notes: San Diego began a stretch in which they will play 19 of 25 games on the road. ... Smoltz, who threw a run-scoring wild pitch, took advantage of his first save chance since April 17. He's four of five in save opportunities. ... Only two of the four runs off Eaton were earned.