Whew, that was close. Russ Ortiz allowed nine hits, Chris Reitsma two more, but the Pirates drew no walks and had only one extra-base hit (a two-out triple), allowing the Braves to strand eleven men. (One reached on an error; the Braves turned one double play.) Smoltz didn’t allow any baserunners, getting four groundouts.

The Braves’ only run came on a homer by Chipper in the fourth. Chipper was 2-2 with two walks (one intentional). The rest of the team (which didn’t include Drew, Estrada, or Furcal, all of whom got apparently routine days off) was a combined 3-27 with three walks. The Braves did load the bases with one out in the ninth, giving them a chance to get insurance, but couldn’t do it. They didn’t threaten much any other time.

Day game tomorrow, Thomson against Josh Fogg. Fogg has a 5.91 ERA, which means he’ll probably throw a six-hitter… The Phillies trail the Marlins 3-2 headed to the bottom of the seventh in South Florida. The Braves hold a two game lead on Philadelphia and a four game lead on the latter pending the outcome. The Mets are losing again and are on the verge of falling back to six out.