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Ortiz NL's best pitcher in July
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08/02/2004 4:59 PM ET
Ortiz NL's best pitcher in July
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ATLANTA -- Russ Ortiz's impressive performance in July earned him his second career National League Pitcher of the Month honor.

There were a number of Braves pitchers who were worthy of consideration for the award. But Ortiz's 5-0 record and 1.67 ERA during the month proved to be enough for him to win it again. His first award came in August 2002.

Ortiz's 74 wins since the 2002 All-Star break are the most recorded by a National League pitcher during that span. His victory against the Pirates last week earned him his 100th career win in just his 200th career start.

"Russ is rolling," Chipper Jones said. "Hopefully, he can keep this going the rest of the season."

Ortiz ranks second in the NL with 12 victories this year -- a number he's reached while going 6-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his past seven starts. During that span, he's lowered his ERA from 4.18 to 3.19 and legitimized the possibility of winning 20 games for a second consecutive season. He posted a career-best 21 wins last year with the Braves.

Other Braves pitchers nominated for the monthly award were Mike Hampton (5-0, 2.62 ERA), Jaret Wright (4-0, 1.42 ERA) and John Smoltz (10 saves, 0.46 ERA). Their contributions led the Braves pitching staff to a Major League-best 2.42 ERA in July.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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