Braves eye another series win in Chicago | News
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves have only lost two sets this season and split another, and are lined up for a series victory today in the final game of three straight against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Atlanta lost the opener of this Windy City series on Monday, then pulled out a 3-1 triumph last night to even things up. Dan Uggla put the Braves ahead for good with a two-run single in the eighth inning and finished with a game-high three hits for the Braves, who have won nine of 14 games and are just percentage points behind Washington for the NL East lead.
Braves reliever Kris Medlen picked up the win with a 1-2-3 seventh inning, while Craig Kimbrel retired the side in order in the ninth to notch his 10th save. Starter Randall Delgado gave up a run on three hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings in the no-decision.
"His learning curve is a short one," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Delgado. "It's nice to see him pitch every fifth day."
The Braves are 4-1 on a nine-game road trip and will head to St. Louis for three games against the Cardinals following Wednesday's game.
Tim Hudson will make his third start of the season for Atlanta this afternoon and was a bit shaky in his last performance on Friday. In a 9-8 win at Colorado, the veteran right-hander did not record a decision after allowing seven runs, six of which were earned, and six hits in six innings. He did manage to strike out six batters for the second start in a row.
Hudson, who is 1-0 with a 6.55 earned run average this season, owns a 2-0 mark and a 3.94 ERA in five career starts against the Cubs.
Chicago hopes to close out a six-game homestand on a positive note and failed once again to get starting pitcher Ryan Dempster a win. Dempster, who has yet to register a win this season despite leading MLB in ERA (1.02), tossed seven strong frames and yielded a run on six hits and a walk.
"It'll come," said Dempster. "It's just more of a bummer because we had a chance to win three in a row, a chance to win a series...You can only control one thing when you're out on the mound and that's trying to put the ball where you want to put it."
Alfonso Soriano drove in the lone run for the Cubs and David DeJesus finished with a team-best two hits. Chicago had won two straight and three of four games before the loss, and sits last in the NL Central.
The Cubs will hit the road for five games against Milwaukee and St. Louis after today's game and are scheduled to send Paul Maholm to the mound versus the Braves. Maholm is 3-2 with a 5.13 ERA in five starts and is aiming to keep his personal three-game winning streak intact.
Maholm started the season with consecutive losses, going 0-2 with a 13.50 earned run average. However, the lefty has changed course to the tune of a 3-0 mark and a 1.47 ERA. He is coming off Friday's 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he delivered six innings of one-run ball and four K's. Maholm gave up a season-low three hits and is 2-1 in three home starts.
In six career starts against the Braves, Maholm sports a 1-1 mark to go along with a 1.58 ERA, spanning 40 innings.
Chicago lost four of seven matchups with the Braves a year ago.