The Atlanta Braves won 11 straight NL East titles from 1995-2005. They can wrap up their first division crown since that amazing run today when they face the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
With a magic number of one, the Braves turn to Kris Medlen, who has won four straight starts. The right-hander is coming off throwing 7 1/3 shutout innings against San Diego a week ago. He's 8-2 over his last 10 starts and has given up just three earned runs over his last four outings, covering 27 2/3 innings.
This will be Medlen's first career start against the Cubs. He's pitched five times in relief against them and is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 7 2/3 innings.
If Medlen and the Braves should falter this afternoon, the Braves can still capture the division tonight if the Washington Nationals lose at home to Miami.
Yesterday, Brian McCann and Chris Johnson hit RBI singles and Andrelton Simmons added a two-run double during Atlanta's four-run ninth-inning in a 9-5 victory. The rally came off Kevin Gregg (2-5).
Earlier, Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and Johnson a solo shot as the Braves built an early 4-0 lead.
The Cubs got solo homers from Starlin Castro, Donnie Murphy and Dioner Navarro but used eight pitchers in the opener of the three-game series.
"It was nice to see us battle back after being down like we were," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "We hit some home runs and the bullpen did a nice job until the end there."
The Braves used six pitchers, with David Carpenter (4-1) throwing a perfect eighth inning for the win.
Paul Maholm went 5 1/3 innings for Atlanta and was charged with four runs on eight hits.
"I made a couple bad pitches for the home runs and it just seemed like later in the game the pitches weren't the same," said Maholm. "I thought early on I had a lot better stuff than I had the last few times."
Travis Wood counters on the mound today for the Cubs. The lefty is coming off a no-decision at Pittsburgh Sunday when he allowed five hits and a pair of runs over six frames. This will be his first career start versus Atlanta.
Atlanta has won all four meetings this season.