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O's jump on Hudson early, hang on to beat Braves

ATLANTA (AP) -- By his own appraisal, Russ Ortiz didn't deliver a
winning performance in his Baltimore debut.

Thanks to their 17-hit attack, the Orioles didn't have to rely
on strong pitching.

Nick Markakis had his second four-hit game of the week, Brian
Roberts drove in two runs with three hits and Baltimore jumped on
Tim Hudson early to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-4 Saturday night.

Russ Ortiz lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and
nine hits. He struck out one, walked four and was pulled before
qualifying for a win.

Ortiz and Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo agreed the outing was
not satisfactory but not disastrous, considering the right-hander
had not pitched since June 11.

"I thought he did OK for the first time out," Perlozzo said.

"I think he showed he's a battler and a competitor."

Ortiz was 0-5 with a 7.54 ERA in six starts for Arizona this
season when the Diamondbacks released him on June 21.

"I felt great," Ortiz said. "After a three-week layoff, I was
pretty happy with the way I felt the whole time."

Ortiz said due to the layoff he would allow himself "a little
bit of leniency" but added "I wasn't very happy with how I
pitched overall, but I was very happy with how we got the win."

The Braves, coming off a 6-21 June, had hoped to start a winning
streak with Friday night's 5-3 win.

Instead, Hudson (6-8) gave up 11 hits and six runs, five earned,
in only 2 2/3 innings in suffering his fourth straight loss. It was
Hudson's shortest start since pitching 2 2/3 innings in a 7-3 loss
at Texas on June 13, 2005.

"His stuff was a little flat tonight," said Braves manager
Bobby Cox.

Hudson was 1-4 with a 4.96 ERA in June.

"I just wasn't very good tonight," Hudson said. "There's
really no explanation. I just didn't make good pitches.

"For the most part, location killed me. That's where you win or
lose games and tonight it was pretty bad."

Perlozzo said he remembers Hudson as "one of the best pitchers
in the game."

"It used to be his fastball was sinking a little bit more,"
Perlozzo said. "He got it up a little bit tonight."

Kurt Birkins (3-1) retired the last two batters in the fifth as
the Orioles improved to 14-23 in road games.

Ortiz appeared to be on pace for another poor outing when he
walked Marcus Giles to open the game and gave up a run-scoring
single to Andruw Jones later in the first inning. But he stranded
three baserunners in the second to stay in it.

Ortiz also went 2-for-2 with two RBI at the plate to help his
cause.

"We're thinking about DHing him," joked Perlozzo. "Those were
two big hits. That was big-time."

The Orioles scored four runs in the second off Hudson and pushed
the lead to 6-1 in the third.

In the second inning, eight consecutive Baltimore batters
reached base on six hits, a walk and Braves third baseman Chipper
Jones' throwing error. Five of the six hits, and each of
Baltimore's four runs in the inning, came with two outs.

Hudson caught a break when Corey Patterson was easily thrown out
at third while trying to advance from first on Jeff Conine's
single. But Ortiz and Roberts had run-scoring singles. Melvin Mora
drove in a run with a bases-loaded infield hit, and the fourth run
scored on Jones' low throw to second on Miguel Tejada's grounder.

Hudson gave up four more hits in the third, including Ortiz's
second run-scoring single. Roberts' sacrifice fly made it 6-1.

Scott Thorman and Edgar Renteria drove in runs as the Braves cut
the lead to 6-3 in the fourth. The inning ended when Thorman was
thrown out at the plate by Baltimore left fielder Brandon Fahey
while trying to score from second on a single by Adam LaRoche.

Markakis, a resident of Woodstock, Ga., north of Atlanta, had
three hits Friday night before delivering his second four-hit game
of the week.

"Every time I looked in the stands I saw people I recognized,"
he said. "It definitely feels good."

The Braves loaded the bases in the seventh against LaTroy
Hawkins, but Thorman hit a flyball to left to end the inning.

Braves reliever Chris Reitsma pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in
his first appearance since coming off the disabled list Friday. He
hit Tejada with a pitch in the eighth inning and, following a visit
from trainer Jeff Porter, left the game.

Cox said it appeared that Reitsma was suffering from the same
numbness in his pitching hand that forced him to the disabled list
on June 12. An MRI was scheduled for Monday.

Chipper Jones hit a solo homer in the ninth.

Game notes
The Braves have not won back-to-back games since a
four-game winning streak May 24-28. ... Tejada played in his
1,000th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the majors.
... Before Saturday night, Hudson was 9-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his
career against Baltimore.