CHICAGO – Rick Ankiel hit a bases-loaded triple off a wild Carlos Marmol with two out in the ninth inning, lifting Derrek Lee and the Atlanta Braves to a 5-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Marmol entered with a 3-2 lead and walked three of the first four batters he faced. After Melky Cabrera struck out, Ankiel lined a 2-2 pitch into the right-field corner.
Lee, traded to the Braves on Wednesday after nearly seven seasons with the Cubs, received a standing ovation before his first at-bat and went 0 for 4 in his first game with Atlanta. The big first baseman struck out, flied out and lined out against best buddy Ryan Dempster before striking out against Marmol for the first out of the ninth.
Billy Wagner retired three straight hitters after Darwin Barney's leadoff single in the Cubs ninth, earning his 30th save and No. 415 for his career. He also struck out two to move into a tie with Jesse Orosco for the most Ks by a left-handed reliever with 1,169.
Marmol (2-3) walked Martin Prado, Brian McCann and Alex Gonzalez before Ankiel's hit. His fifth blown save in 26 chances sent the Cubs to their eighth straight home loss — their longest skid in four years — and prevented Dempster from winning his fourth consecutive start.
Dempster allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings, retiring the last nine batters he faced. He is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA in four starts this month.
The NL East-leading Braves, who won for the eighth time in 10 games, lead the majors with 22 victories in their final at-bat. They rank first in the league with 37 comeback wins.
Peter Moylan (5-2) pitched a perfect eighth in relief of Jair Jurrjens, who gave up three runs and nine hits in seven innings for Atlanta.
The Cubs got on the board in the second inning on consecutive two-out singles by Blake DeWitt, Xavier Nady and Koyie Hill. Atlanta tied it in the third on Omar Infante's home run and grabbed a 2-1 lead on Gonzalez's RBI double in the fourth — the final hit allowed by Dempster.
Aramis Ramirez homered in the bottom half for the Cubs and doubled in Marlon Byrd in the sixth. Ramirez has 12 homers and 33 RBIs in his last 37 games after failing to produce in the first half of the season.
NOTES: Cubs OF Tyler Colvin will play first for the first time during next week's series at Washington, manager Lou Piniella said. The Cubs want to see if Colvin, who last played the position as a college sophomore, is a legitimate option at first for next season. Piniella said he wanted Colvin's first games there to come on the road, away from the Chicago spotlight. ... The Miller Lite sign located on a rooftop past right field usually features a statement that taunts the opposition. Friday, though, it paid tribute to Braves manager Bobby Cox, who is retiring after the season: "BRAVO BOBBY! CHEERS TO 29 YEARS!"