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Ortiz's undoing starts with a K
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League Championship Series
10/12/2002 10:34 pm ET 
Ortiz's undoing starts with a K
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com

Russ Ortiz allowed only three homers at Pacific Bell Park in the regular season but gave up two to St. Louis in Game 3 of the NLCS. (Cardinals/Scott Rovak)
SAN FRANCISCO -- After winning both of his starts in the NL Division Series against the Braves, including the crucial Game 5, Russ Ortiz said he felt more relaxed and a lot more confident about pitching in the postseason.

But after 2 1/2 innings Saturday, Ortiz had put the Giants in a position in which they had never been in the first two games of the series: trailing the Cardinals.

Ortiz's undoing started when he struck out pitcher Chuck Finley to start the third but bounced the pitch past catcher Benito Santiago. A Fernando Vina single later, Edgar Renteria tied the game with a sacrifice fly and Vina scored on Jim Edmonds' groundout.

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"They ended up scoring the first run [with the wild-pitch strikeout], but that shouldn't be a problem," said Ortiz. "They didn't hit the ball really that hard that inning, they just did the right things somehow when they needed to."

Manager Dusty Baker thought Ortiz pitched better than his final showed. "He really theoretically only gave up two runs, the two solo home runs," said Baker. "One was on a wild pitch, and the other was Fernando Vina's ball that was hit a lot harder than most of us thought it was hit."

  Russ Ortiz   /   P
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 210
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
Player page
Stats
Splits
atlantabraves.com

Ortiz disagreed, taking the blame for his team's early hole, eventually erased on Barry Bonds' homer before Eli Marrero hit a game-winning home run off reliever Jay Witasick.

"I wasn't getting ahead, obviously, with any pitches," said Ortiz. "It was just one of those days. I just had a bad game and it was just at the wrong time.

"It wasn't really a good effort on my part, but the guys tried to come back. They've done a great job of getting timely hits and it just didn't work out that way today."

Ortiz lasted 4 2/3 innings, leaving after giving up a single -- the Cardinals' fifth hit off him -- to J.D. Drew. The right-hander walked three, including a pair in the third after the Cardinals had scored their two runs before Ortiz got Tino Martinez to hit a squib grounder in front of the plate for the final out.

"Really, it wasn't a whole bunch of difference [from his previous outings]," said Baker. "The main thing is, I think that one inning getting out of trouble with two runs took a lot out of him, I think. Other than the two solo home runs, I think he threw well."

Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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