10/08/2002 02:00 am ET
Ortiz rolls on, sans glamour
Right-hander effective in notching second NLDS win
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Russ Ortiz knows there are many ways to win a baseball game. He has used all of them during the past month.
Ortiz went the less glamorous route on Monday night, pitching 5 1/3 innings of limited mistakes in lifting the Giants to a 3-1 victory over the Braves in the deciding fifth game of the National League Division Series at Turner Field.
Well-practiced at finding ways to win, Ortiz -- who won both his starts in this series and extended his win streak to eight starts -- will try to do more of the same in the National League Championship Series, which starts Wednesday against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
"That's the whole strategy -- throw it out there, hit my spots and not really worry about what they were going to do with the ball," said Ortiz, who became the first Giant since Hall-of-Famer Carl Hubbell in 1933 to win two games in the same postseason series.
"I just thought, don't let the big guys beat you and don't let any guys up in front of them on base so they could drive them in. We kept the big innings at bay."
The Braves couldn't even master a little inning during the first three. Ortiz walked Gary Sheffield and Chipper Jones with two out in the first before working Andruw Jones into a fly ball. Otherwise, he was clean.
Ortiz forced grounders to escape jams in the fourth and fifth innings. The first was by Vinny Castilla, who finished the series at .389 and was the most consistently productive Atlanta starter, to third baseman David Bell with runners at first and second. The second was Ortiz's best pitch of the night.
A Bell error and walks to Julio Franco and Sheffield loaded the bases with two out, but Ortiz forced Jones into a grounder to perfectly positioned shortstop Rich Aurilia to end the inning, but not without a little drama.
"It took a funny hop at the end, but somehow it ended up in my glove," Aurilia said.
Ortiz said he acknowledged the pressure of the situation, then consciously forced it from his mind.
"The whole time I was just telling myself don't press, just keep throwing your pitches and that's just what I did."
Ortiz credited Aurilia with making a great play.
"It took a bad hop. I kind of jumped and said, 'Oh, my goodness.'"
That's what's being said, with confidence and happiness instead of fear, about Ortiz.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.