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Ortiz Helps Himself Reach No. 20

September 20, 2003|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Russ Ortiz recorded his 20th victory in style, pitching a three-hitter and driving in the only run as the Atlanta Braves defeated Florida, 1-0, Friday night to knock the Marlins out of the lead in the wild-card race.

The Philadelphia Phillies moved a half-game ahead of Florida with a 7-3 victory over Cincinnati.

Ortiz (20-7) reached 20 wins for the first time in his career and gave Atlanta its first 20-game winner since Tom Glavine in 2000. It was Ortiz's second career shutout, the first coming in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants. The right-hander bounced back from his shortest start of the season, having lasted only three innings in an 8-3 loss to the Marlins in Miami last Saturday.

"I started thinking during the game, 'Hey, this could turn out to be a real good celebration,' " Ortiz said.

Ortiz pitched his first complete game this season, yielding three singles and keeping the Marlins from getting anyone past first base.

"What better way to win your 20th than to drive in the winning run yourself?" Florida Manager Jack McKeon said. "That may have been the best-pitched game against us this year."

Ortiz pumped his fist and pointed toward catcher Javy Lopez after the final out. He walked only one -- Derrek Lee with two out in the seventh -- and set a season high with eight strikeouts.

"I was getting ahead," said Ortiz, who leads the NL with 98 walks. "That was huge. That's why guys like Greg Maddux are so successful. They get ahead and make guys swing at their pitches."

For good measure, Ortiz accounted for the only run of the game. Lopez led off the second with a double off the left-field wall, but the next two hitters failed to drive him in. Ortiz, batting .246 for the season, lined an RBI single to left -- then made the lead stand up.

Josh Beckett (8-8) was the hard-luck loser for the Marlins. He gave up six hits in seven innings and struck out nine.

"I made one mistake," Beckett said. "It's tough. I gave up one big hit and it cost me the game."

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