St. Louis Russ Ortiz refuses to get carried away by his outstanding season.
Ortiz worked into the ninth inning to become the second 16-game winner in the major leagues and the Atlanta Braves hit four home runs in a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night.
"Everything has gone so well that just keeping that consistency is the key," Ortiz said. "Believe me, I know what's ahead, but I don't jump that far and let it get in my head because then I won't be fully concentrating on the next game."
Ortiz (16-5) allowed two runs on five hits in eight-plus innings, joining Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays as the top winners.
Ortiz needs two more wins to match his career high in 1999 with the Giants. He's won nine of his last 10 and has never lost consecutive decisions, bouncing back in this one after a loss in his last start to the Dodgers.
"We had the hitting and made the plays," manager Bobby Cox said. "And Russ did the rest."
Gary Sheffield, Marcus Giles, Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez homered for the Braves, who lead the NL with 174.
"You get a pitch to hit, you want to drive it," Sheffield said. "We took pretty good swings and the ball wound up going over the fence."
Albert Pujols doubled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 22 games for the Cardinals, who have lost three of the first four on a six-game homestand. Pujols, who got his 100th RBI and scored his 100th run on Thursday, is batting .395 (34-for-86) during the streak and a major-league best .371 overall.
The Braves have won eight in a row over the Cardinals dating to last season, including a three-game sweep in Atlanta in April. The NL East leaders are 76-39, matching the best start in franchise history, set in 1998 and matched last season.
Sheffield, who entered the game with a major league-leading .361 road average, hit his 28th homer in the first inning off Jeff Fassero (1-6). Giles hit his 14th, a two-run shot and his third homer in as many games, in the third for a 3-0 lead.
Jones hit his 29th homer, a two-run shot to center off Esteban Yan, for a 6-2 lead in the eighth. Lopez, the next batter, also connected to center for his 31st homer.
Astros 5, Expos 1
Houston -- Lance Berkman hit a RBI double and made a big defensive play that helped Jeriome Robertson and Houston beat Montreal. The Expos lost their fourth game in a row.
Robertson (11-5) had a six-game winning streak prior to losing his last two decisions. He pitched 61/3 innings and allowed five hits and one run. Orlando Merced connected the 11th pinch-hit homer of his career, a two-run shot in the Houston seventh. It was his first pinch-hit home run of the season and the Astros' fifth of the year.
Dodgers 3, Cubs 1
Los Angeles -- Eric Gagne set the major league record for consecutive saves to start a season, and Adrian Beltre's tiebreaking two-run homer helped Andy Ashby end a five-game losing streak as Los Angeles beat Chicago. Gagne recorded three outs for his 47th consecutive save and 39th without a miss this season -- breaking Jose Mesa's major league record.
Ashby (3-9) won for the first time in seven outings since beating Anaheim 4-2 June 21. He allowed a run and three hits in five innings, struck out five and walked two while helping the Dodgers win their fifth straight.
Mets 3, D'backs 1
Phoenix -- Tom Glavine earned his first victory since July 4 and Roger Cedeno went 3-for-5 with an RBI as New York beat Arizona. Glavine (7-11) hadn't pitched since July 29 because of a strained oblique muscle. He allowed one run on four hits in six innings for his first win in six starts, and only his second victory in 10 decisions since May 18.
Giants 9, Phillies 1
San Francisco -- Barry Bonds hit his major league-leading 35th home run as San Francisco beat Philadelphia. Andres Galarraga also homered for the NL West-leading Giants, who won for the fourth time in five games. Bonds, who hit a three-run homer off Jose Mesa in the seventh, was also intentionally walked twice, giving him 44 this season. He's on pace for 73, which would break his own mark of 68 set last year.
Marlins 5, Brewers 3
Milwaukee -- Juan Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and Carl Pavano picked up his career-high ninth victory as Florida beat Milwaukee. Mike Lowell also drove in two runs for the Marlins, who beat the Brewers for the sixth time in seven games this season.