ATLANTA (Ticker) --
tossed 7 2/3 superb innings and
highlighted a six-run first inning with a three-run double as the
rolled to a 9-1 rout of the
Ortiz (8-6) allowed one run and seven hits en route to his third win in as many decisions vs. Florida this season. The righthander struck out seven, walked two and improved to 6-2 against the Marlins in an Atlanta uniform.
Ortiz won his fourth straight decision vs. Florida and helped the Braves improve to 9-4 this season against one of their biggest divisional rivals. Ortiz's big outing also gave Atlanta its sixth win in eight games.
During his winning streak against Florida, Ortiz has allowed three earned runs in 29 2/3 innings and with Atlanta trying to get on a roll, facing a division rival adds extra motivation.
"I think it gives me extra incentive to do everything I can because they are in our division," Ortiz said. "We're playing very well. We just need to keep it up for the rest of the season."
Ortiz threw 76 of 112 pitches for strikes and his effort prevented manager
from taxing his bullpen after five relievers pitched the final seven innings of Wednesday's 9-6 win.
"We got a great performance from Russ," Cox said. "He gave us the innings we needed."
The Braves took three of four from the Marlins and scored 24 runs in their three victories. In this one, Atlanta struck early against Florida starter
(0-1), who did not retire any of the four batters he faced and was optioned to the minor leagues after the game.
"It was a big series for us," Atlanta second baseman
said. "To take three out of four was big to get back in the hunt. We're feeling good as a team and anytime you can get a lead early it's real important."
The Braves chased the lefthander when
drew a bases-loaded walk.
entered and got two outs before
lined a 3-2 pitch to the left field wall, increasing the lead to 4-0.
"That was the big hit,"
said. "In that situation, he (Small) might throw a slider. But he threw a fastball in and I got good wood on it."
followed with a two-run homer to left field and capped Atlanta's scoring with a RBI base hit in the seventh.
"It sure was (miserable) from weather to performance and all of the above," Florida third baseman
said. "We can't spot them six runs in the first. It's definitely frustrating when they have one hit and bases loaded and one run in. If they get four hits, then I give it to them. We were just one pitch away from getting out of it."
Ortiz lost his shutout bid when he gave up Lowell's RBI double in the eighth. He was lifted by Cox and received a standing ovation from the crowd of 20,600 at Turner Field.
, the younger brother of Atlanta right fielder J.D. Drew, got the final four outs.
The Marlins have dropped nine of their last 13 games and manager Jack McKeon said his team reached their low point.
"I'm just glad the trip is over," McKeon said. "We can't play any worse than we played tonight. When you hit rock bottom there's no place to go but up and we hit that tonight."