Saturday, March 30, 2013

Braves Take Series to Tie Cubs in Standings

Atlanta sweeps a doubleheader to win two of three from da Cubs, tying them with identical 30-24 records and only 2 games off the pace of NL-leading St. Louis. The Braves have won six of seven from Chicago this year, this time snapping Chicago's recent string of series wins.

Game 1: CHIC 11, ATL 2
W: J. Nieko (5-3)
L: Jarvis (4-5)
MVP: Williams

The series started off well for the Cubs, as Billy Williams again had a day, going three-for-four with five Ribbies, three runs scored and a long home run (12). Banks (12) and Santo (7) also hit the long ball, as Chicago's trio of boppers drives in 10 of the 11 runs. Pat Jarvis doesn't stand a chance, giving up 10 runs in 5.2 innings.

Game 2: ATL 7, CHIC 0
W: Johnson (6-1)
L: Jenkins (7-3)
MVP: Johnson

33 years old and having pitched in the bigs for 10 years, Ken Johnson is having quite the season. As a spot starter, he continues to dominate, lowering his ERA to 1.30 with a CG shutout. Felipe Alou is pounding the ball; Atlanta's leadoff man goes four-for-five with three RBIs and two runs scored, hitting a homer (2) and double for an added bonus. Fergie Jenkins is belted for 11 hits and all seven runs.

Game 3: ATL 2, CHIC 1
W: Reed (6-3)
L: Hands (3-4)
S: Upshaw (7)
MVP: Reed

After two blowout games, this one is a white-knuckler. Rangy righty Ron Reed of Atlanta holds the Cubs bats at bay, only giving up a run and five hits in seven innings, while reliever Cecil Upshaw allows no baserunners in 1.2 innings of work for his seventh save in eight chances. Chicago's Bill Hands is also sharp, with a perfect game through five. But Braves 2B Felix Millan is the difference-maker, poking a two-out RBI single in the eighth that provides the winning margin after Alou is intentionally walked.

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