Boom. Boom. Boom. Sheffield, Chipper, and Andruw hit consecutive home runs in the sixth inning. That was all the scoring, and Russ Ortiz had his first win as a Brave. Ortiz started shakily, especially with his control (see below) but pitched around that and got stronger as the game went on.
The inexplicable Roberto Hernandez loaded the bases in the eighth (I was surprised Ortiz was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, having thrown less than 90 pitches, but he was on three days’ rest) but the also inexplicable Kevin Gryboski managed to get a double play to get out of the inning. John Smoltz finished it off; he hasn’t been scored on yet this season, having pitched in all three Braves wins and saving two of them.
The Braves drew no walks in the game and had only two hits other than the homers, one each by Lopez and Giles. Vinny Castilla was hit by a pitch, which is always good. The Braves are very home-run dependent right now. They’re 3-0 when hitting one and 0-4 when not. Andruw has hit one out in all three wins.
The Braves now travel to Philadelphia for a three-game series. Kevin Millwood is scheduled to pitch Thursday, with Paul Byrd tentatively listed as the Braves’ starter. Just great. (UPDATE: On the other hand, Byrd might be more likely to pitch than Millwood, who left his last start with a groin strain. Kevin wants to pitch against the Braves, but management disagrees.)