Things looked bleak there for awhile, but the Braves got a sixth-inning game-tying solo homer from Adam LaRoche and a seventh-inning two-run shot from Marcus Giles and coasted from there. Russ Ortiz had a very odd start, allowing two runs on only one hit in the first, then not allowing another hit. He did walk five, but struck out six, leaving with two out in the eighth with 118 pitches thrown. (I don’t know if that was such a super idea.) Smoltz pitched to the last batter in that inning, in a two-run game, then pitched the ninth with the lead up to four, getting the save.

LaRoche had a perfect day, going 2-2 with two walks, scoring an insurance run in the eighth. Marcus’ homer, his first since coming off the DL, was one of his two hits. Drew had a homer in the first; Thomas had two hits and is up to an even .400 on the season.

The Phillies beat the Mets and the Marlins lost. The Braves are still a game out of first, but now two up on the other two contenders. John Thomson pitches tomorrow in the last game of the series, which amazingly will be on TBS. Then it’s a two-game miniseries with the Phillies.