Russ Ortiz shut out host Pittsburgh for seven innings to win his sixth in a row and Chipper Jones homered for Atlanta's only run off rookie Oliver Perez, leading the Braves past the Pirates, 1-0, last night.
The game matched two streaking pitchers in Ortiz and Perez, neither of whom had lost since June, and two of baseball's hottest teams -- the Braves have won 21 of 28, the Pirates 21 of 29.
Ortiz (12-6) gained his 100th major league victory and improved to 7-0 against Pittsburgh in 10 career starts, despite allowing at least one base runner in every inning. The Pirates had nine hits off Ortiz and 11 overall, only to strand 11 runners after scoring 36 runs in their previous five games.
The left-handed Perez (6-5) is fast developing into one of the NL's best starters. He was more in command than Ortiz except for one pitch -- Jones's 14th homer, a solo shot to left with one out in the fourth.
Otherwise, Perez didn't allow a runner to reach second until Eli Marrero tripled in the ninth, striking out 10 and walking five in 81/3 innings. It was the sixth double-digit strikeout game this season and the 11th of his brief career for Perez, whose average of 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings leads the majors.
"I certainly am glad we had Russ on the mound for this matchup because you had to know that guy [Perez] wasn't going to give up too many runs," Jones said. "He's the closest thing to Randy Johnson you'll see. He's a gem. He's only 22 years old and he's still developing, but he can throw it 97 miles per hour and he's got a developing change-up."
* BREWERS 6, CUBS 3: Chris Capuano pitched effectively into the seventh inning, and Bill Hall and Ben Grieve homered to help host Milwaukee snap a four-game losing streak. The Brewers beat Cubs ace Kerry Wood for just their second win in 10 games.
* EXPOS 7, METS 4: Tony Batista homered and drove in two runs, and Nick Johnson hit a go-ahead RBI double in the fifth in leading Montreal to victory at home. Brian Schneider had two RBI for the Expos, who have won six of their last seven.
* CARDINALS 11, REDS 10: St. Louis hit four homers -- two by Scott Rolen -- to repeatedly blunt host Cincinnati's comeback attempts and send the Reds to their eighth straight loss.
Jim Edmonds homered in all three games of the series sweep, which put the Cardinals 11 games up in the NL Central.
* ASTROS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 1: In Houston, Roger Clemens struck out eight and allowed one run in seven innings, leading the Astros past reeling Arizona. Clemens (12-3) allowed only five hits and got his 322nd win, moving within two of Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 12th place on the career list. It was Arizona's 16th loss in 17 games.
* MARLINS 6, PHILLIES 3: Hee Seop Choi hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth, and Florida extended its winning streak against Philadelphia at Pro Player Stadium to 13 games, including six this year. The Marlins have won three in a row for the first time since May. Rain fell during much of the game and delayed play twice.
* ROCKIES 5, DODGERS 4: Aaron Miles hit a tiebreaking single off Guillermo Mota in the eighth and Jeromy Burnitz homered in his sixth straight home game to tie a team record, leading Colorado to victory. Dante Bichette also homered in six straight home games in 1995.
* PADRES 9, GIANTS 4: Sean Burroughs had a two-run single and Ryan Klesko added a two-run double in a five-run sixth inning, and San Diego went on to beat visiting San Francisco.