Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cubs and Braves Split

In four tight games, the Cubs and Braves split the series, 2-2, as each look to make up ground on the first-place Cards. Atlanta -- behind the red-hot hitting of Felipe Alou and Felix Millan at the top of the order -- is now 65-62 while the Cubs -- sporting three players (Williams, Banks and Santo) with at least 25 HRS and 75 RBIs - sit at 68-61.

Game 1: ATL 3, CHIC 1
W: Stone (3-2)
L: Holtzman (11-10)
S: Kelley (3)

Atlanta's George Stone, working his way into the starting rotation in August after recently being called up,  only allows one run in 6.1 innings for the win. Red-hot Felipe Alou goes three-for-four and moves his hitting streak to 10 games.

Game 2: CHIC 4, ATL 0
W: Hands (11-11)
L: Niekro (11-12)

Up-and-down veteran Bill Hands pitches a masterpiece with a complete game three-hit shutout to even the series. Williams' 25th and Santo's 27 homers off Phil Niekro provide the cushion.

Game 3: ATL 9, CHIC 2 (11 innings)
W: Upshaw (3-1)
L: Upham (0-1)

In a game much closer than the score would indicate, the Cubs and Braves battle to a 2-2 tie through nine behind solid pitching from Milt Pappas and Fergie Jenkins (the ML strikeout leader fans nine more). But in the top of the 11th, the Braves scalp the Cubs at Wrigley with seven earned runs off relievers John Upham and Jack Lamabe, who combine to give up seven Braves hits in the inning.

Game 4: CHIC 6, ATL 5
W: Reynolds (1-0)
L: Upshaw (3-2)

For most of this game (the second of a twi-night doubleheader), the Cubs look to be beaten, as shaky starter Rich Nye gives up 10 hits and four runs in 6 innings (two RBIs from Braves shortstop Marty Martinez). But a Don Kessinger homer (his first of the year) off Atlanta starter Ron Reed fuels the comeback. Behind 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth and Braves closer Cecil Upshaw on the mound, all appears lost.

But pinch-hitter Jim Hickman gets the rally started with a single and Glenn Beckert raps a base hit to put runners on the corners with one out. Williams' single scores Hickman to close the gap to 5-4. With two outs, Santo walks and brings up Willie Smith. The baseball vagabond cheers the Cubs' faithful by rapping a bases loaded single to win it.

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