clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Braves rotation as dominant as ever

New faces, same results in Atlanta

Even with three new starters, the Atlanta Braves' pitching staff looks just as dominant as ever.

Russ Ortiz threw three scoreless innings and the Braves shut down the Detroit Tigers 11-0 Saturday. Atlanta starters have allowed only three runs in 28 innings this spring, and the staff ERA is 2.38 — best in the majors.

"To have the new guys throwing that good that early is really a good sign," manager Bobby Cox said. "I thought Russ was just outstanding today. He was sharp as a tack with all his pitches and he has been all spring. They all have."

Ortiz, Mike Hampton and Paul Byrd are new to a remarkable rotation that has led the Braves to a record 11 consecutive division titles.

They were brought in to replace Tom Glavine, Kevin Millwood and Damian Moss, who were a combined 48-25 with a 3.19 ERA last season.

Those are big shoes to fill. But Hampton is the only one of the three new starters to give up a run this spring. The trio has allowed a combined 13 hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 11 innings.

That doesn't even include ace Greg Maddux, who has cruised through five scoreless innings in two starts.

"I don't think anybody looks at our pitching staff and says, 'Boy, they really lost a lot and only gained a little coming back.' I think everyone realizes we still have a solid staff," said Ortiz, acquired from San Francisco for Moss.

"The organization brought us here because they believe we can help them win games and I think what we're doing is showing they made good choices."

In other games:

EXPOS 3, ASTROS 2: At Viera, Fla., Tony Armas Jr. pitched four scoreless innings and struck out seven for Montreal. Houston starter Shane Reynolds allowed one run on three hits in four innings.

MARLINS 7, DODGERS 0: At Jupiter, Fla., Carl Pavano threw three perfect innings and Andy Fox hit a bases-loaded triple for Florida. Dodgers starter Hideo Nomo also looked solid, giving up one hit and two unearned runs in four innings.

BLUE JAYS 6, DEVIL RAYS 2: At Dunedin, Fla., Tanyon Sturtze threw three shutout innings against his former team and Shannon Stewart drove in four runs for Toronto. AL Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske broke out of an 0-for-15 slump with an RBI single. Greg Vaughn struck out four times to lower his average to .142 this spring.

TWINS 6, ORIOLES 4: At Fort Myers, Fla., Michael Cuddyer homered and drove in two runs, and Michael Restovich hit a two-run triple to lead Minnesota. Rick Reed allowed three runs — one earned — and six hits in three innings. Twins lefty Eric Milton (knee surgery) is expected to be out four-to-six months.

INDIANS 7, PHILLIES 1: At Winter Haven, Fla., Ben Broussard hit his fourth homer in a week for Cleveland. Jim Thome went 0-for-1 with two walks in his first appearance against his former team since signing with Philadelphia in December.

METS 14, CARDINALS 2: At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Mo Vaughn and Tony Clark homered as New York battered Dustin Hermanson. Jose Reyes, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, made his much anticipated debut for New York. The 19-year-old shortstop, held back this spring because of a quadriceps injury, went 1-for-2 with a single as the Mets won their sixth straight.

YANKEES 7, PIRATES 4: At Tampa, Fla., Robin Ventura hit a two-run homer and Andy Pettitte allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in 2 2-3 innings for New York. Mariano Rivera retired all four batters he faced.

BREWERS 11, GIANTS 6: At Scottsdale, Ariz., Barry Bonds hit his fourth homer of the spring, but Wilton Veras' two-run double in a six-run ninth inning carried Milwaukee past San Francisco. Bonds is hitting .500 (7-for-14) in seven games.

CUBS 3, WHITE SOX 2: At Mesa, Ariz., Mike Mahoney's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth won it for the Cubs. Sammy Sosa, who has been out with an infection, played in only his second game of the spring. Joe Crede and D'Angelo Jimenez homered for the White Sox.

DIAMONDBACKS 8, PADRES 5: At Tucson, Ariz., Curt Schilling struck out five in four solid innings and Junior Spivey homered for Arizona. Schilling, who threw 63 pitches, gave up one run and five hits, walking one. Padres slugger Phil Nevin will need surgery on his dislocated left shoulder and is out indefinitely.

ROCKIES 12, RANGERS 5: At Surprise, Ariz., Shawn Chacon, trying to pitch his way back into Colorado's rotation, threw four scoreless innings. Rangers starter Ismael Valdes allowed six runs and six hits in the third inning.

ROYALS 7, MARINERS 1: At Peoria, Ariz., Jeremy Affeldt pitched four scoreless innings and Joe Randa homered for Kansas City. Freddy Garcia allowed three runs, three hits and three walks in three innings.

ATHLETICS 13, ANGELS 1: At Phoenix, AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito threw five strong innings, and Graham Koonce hit a grand slam during a nine-run seventh for Oakland.

Zito gave up four hits, including a homer to Garret Anderson. Eric Chavez homered for Oakland.

REDS 8, RED SOX 8, 11 INNINGS: At Sarasota, Fla., Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek and Kevin Millar homered for Boston. Ken Griffey Jr. had an RBI single in the first inning off Boston starter Derek Lowe. Griffey is 7-for-14 with eight RBIs in his last five games.