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braves-9-cubs-4 | July | 2005 Articles

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Braves 9, Cubs 4

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The Braves were actually losing in the 8th inning of this game. But the Cubs bullpen collapsed. That must be a letdown, to actually have a lead against John Smoltz, only to blow it. The Braves scored 6 times in the 8th inning. Anyway, Smoltz didn't have it today, for his standards. He pitched 7 innings, but gave up 4 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and only 2 strikeouts. He did have a 3 pitches-3 outs 7th inning. His sore hamstring maybe was still bothering him, and now he has a sore toe after trying to cover 1st on a drag bunt. To that point, the score was 4-3. The Braves had gotten 2 runs on a Rafael Furcal homer, the other on a LaRoche RBI groundout. Marcus Giles led off the inning with a triple, that just missed both being a home run, and caught by right fielder Jeremy Burnitz as he crashed into the wall. Mr. MVP himself, Andruw, then followed up with a 2 run homer on an 0-2 pitch to give the Braves a 5-4 lead. LaRoche and McCann reached base for Jeff Francoeur, who proceeded to hit a 3 run homer just over the center field wall, and the fans went nuts for their homegrown phenom in his big league debut. Marcus then batted again later and had an RBI single. John Foster (2-1) and Chris Reitsma shut down the Cubs in the last 2 innings. Speaking of Francoeur, he didn't look that great before his home run. He had struck out twice and hit a weak groundball though. All was forgotten after the homer. Offensive contributors: Marcus Giles was 4-5 with a triple, an RBI, and scored. Giles' average is over .300 now. Andruw Jones was 1-5 but with his MLB-leading 27th homer. Francoeur hit his first big league homer. Rafael Furcal was 2-4 with a homer and a walk. Kelly Johnson was 2-4 with a walk and scored. Adam LaRoche was 2-4. Pete Orr was 1-3 with a walk and scored twice. The Braves are now 12 games above .500 at 49-37. They lead the Wild Card, and the division rivals are the only competition: other than the 1st place teams in the other divisions, nobody is over .500. All the teams in the NL East are at .500 or better. The Marlins at 44-39 are 3.5 games behind the Braves and 2nd place in the Wild Card. With another gNats loss and 2 Braves wins today, the Braves moved to within 2.5 games of 1st place. Milwaukee now travels to Atlanta for the last series before the All-Star break. Jorge Sosa will go against Doug Davis tomorrow on Turner South.

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