Series: Game 3 of 3

Atlanta won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, May 24
Game 2: Tuesday, May 25
Game 3: Wednesday, May 26

Braves 6

(22-23, 11-13 away)

Expos 1

(15-31, 8-15 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 26, 2004

    Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec 

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    ATL 010020120 6 13 1
    MON 100000000 1 5 0

    W: R. Ortiz (5-4)

    L: L. Hernandez (3-4)

    Braves pitcher retires last 17 straight

    MONTREAL (AP) -- Russ Ortiz was virtually unstoppable once he started working the count to his advantage.

    Ortiz threw a five-hitter for his first complete game of the season and eighth of his career, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 6-1 victory over the Montreal Expos on Wednesday night.

    "This is how I feel I can pitch every time out," said Ortiz, who threw 90 of 129 pitches for strikes.

    Ortiz (5-4) allowed one run in winning his second straight start. He retired his last 17 batters, and 22 of 23, to improve to 5-2 in his last eight outings.

    "My goal is to get strike one and make the guys swing at my pitches. It just doesn't always work out that way," Ortiz said. "Today was just getting ahead and staying ahead."

    It was Atlanta's third complete game this season, and Ortiz's second with the Braves.

    "Russ was dynamite, wasn't he?" manager Bobby Cox said. "He had a good hook tonight, his curveball was one of those downers. He was cutting his fastball like crazy, great control."

    Mark DeRosa homered and drove in two runs and Rafael Furcal hit a solo home run for the Braves, who have won five of seven to move within one game of .500. Johnny Estrada hit an RBI double, and Chipper Jones and J.D. Drew added run-scoring singles

    Montreal has lost six of seven, dropping its NL-worst mark to 15-31.

    Livan Hernandez (3-4) allowed 10 hits and four runs in seven innings. He has gone at least seven innings in eight of 11 starts.

    "They seemed to have the right approach against him," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "They were kind of just sitting and waiting and getting pitches to hit. I think they had a gameplan against him and they executed it pretty good."

    Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected by plate umpire Bill Welke when he argued with him after Andruw Jones took a called third strike with the bases loaded to end the third. It was Cox's third ejection of the season, and the 111th of his career.

    Players spilled out of both dugouts in the seventh while Expos manager Frank Robinson was talking with Welke along the first-base line after Estrada was hit on the leg by a pitch in the seventh. Welke quickly stepped forward and waved the Braves players back to their dugout.

    "I was kind of upset because I got hit, and I get to first base and (Hernandez) is looking at me, telling me to calm down," Estrada said. "He doesn't really need to be talking to me and I'm already heated because I got hit. If he just gets on the mound and concentrates on the next hitter and doesn't look at me, then nothing happens. It could have been avoided."

    Hernandez had words with Atlanta first base coach Glenn Hubbard as he left the field after striking out Andruw Jones with runners at first and third to end the inning, which began with Furcal's second homer to put the Braves up 4-1.

    "I told him, 'It's a curveball, (Estrada) makes a show like that and he wants to be on ESPN," Hernandez said. "When he was on first base I said, 'Calm down a little bit, it's a curveball.' And he started up, but it's O.K., he's a young guy. I'll be ready for next time. I'm going to pitch again Monday (in Atlanta) so let's see what happens."

    DeRosa hit his third homer of the season off Sun-woo Kim in the eighth to increase the lead to 5-1. Drew added an RBI single later in the inning.

    Montreal took an early lead on Jose Vidro's RBI single in the first, but Ortiz escaped without further damage when Carl Everett grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners at first and third.

    Andruw Jones and DeRosa hit consecutive doubles with one out in the second to tie it. The Braves took a 3-1 lead in the fifth on Chipper Jones' RBI single and Estrada's run-scoring double.

    Game notes

    Cox was also ejected from a 4-0 loss in New York on April 15, and again three days later in a 3-2 win over Florida on April 18. ... Expos shortstop Orlando Cabrera was rested and missed his second start of the season. Cabrera pinch hit and flew out in the eighth, extending his consecutive games streak to 214. ... Hernandez's shortest start of the season was a six-inning outing in a season-opening 4-3 loss in Florida on Apr. 6.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press