(Thursday, July 5th)
Final Score: Atlanta 7, Chicago 3
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Jason Heyward and Brian McCann each belted two- run home runs in the bottom of the first inning to help the Braves down the Cubs, 7-3, in the finale of a four-game set Thursday at Turner Field.
McCann also added a sacrifice fly in the fifth, while Freddie Freeman cracked a solo shot in the third and scored twice to help the Braves wrap up a 10-game homestand at 5-5.
Mike Minor (5-6) carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning but was charged with three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts to improve to 4-0 in four career starts against Chicago.
"I just tried to throw strikes," said Minor about his offense providing him with a five-run cushion. "It was more just trying to go after hitters and I think I was over throwing."
Geovany Soto broke up Minor's no-hit bid with a solo homer in the fifth and Reed Johnson added a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh, but the Cubs lost for just the second time in their last seven contests.
Matt Garza (4-7) absorbed the loss after giving up five runs on five hits -- three home runs -- and three walks with six strikeouts over four frames.
Martin Prado stroked a one-out single to left in the bottom of the first and Heyward followed with a drive to right that bounced off the top of the wall and landed in the first row to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
After Freeman singled to right, McCann deposited a two-run homer deep into the right-field bleachers to extend the margin to 4-0.
Freeman then crushed a changeup into the center-field seats with one out in the third to stretch the Atlanta advantage to 5-0.
Soto's one-out blast in the fifth gave the Cubs their first hit and first run of the contest, but the Braves responded in the bottom half.
Scott Maine entered for Garza to start the fifth and Prado greeted him with a single to right before Heyward followed with a base hit and moved to second as right fielder Bryan LaHair bobbled the ball in the outfield.
McCann plated Prado two batters later with a sac fly to right to restore a five-run lead for Atlanta.
Chicago registered its second hit of the game on David DeJesus' one-out single to center in the sixth, but Minor induced a 5-4-3 double play from Starlin Castro to end the inning.
Anthony Rizzo singled to start the seventh and Alfonso Soriano followed with a walk before Minor struck out LaHair to end his night.
"He was locating his pitches really well," said Soto of Minor. "He was changing speeds. His fastball command early in the game was unbelievable. He's got good stuff."
Kris Medlen entered from the bullpen and got Soto to fly out to center before Johnson slapped a pinch-hit single down the left-field line.
Rizzo scored easily on the play and Soriano crossed home as Heyward's throw to third from right sailed wide to bring the visitors within 6-3.
In the eighth, Juan Francisco smacked a first-pitch slider into the seats in right-center field to provide the Braves with some insurance and account for the final margin.
Despite the loss, the Cubs won the season series 4-3. It's the first time they have won a season series over Atlanta since taking all six games during the 2008 campaign...Atlanta will head to Philadelphia for a three-game set with the Phillies beginning on Friday...Chicago begins a three-game series in New York against the Mets on Friday...Prado extended his hit-streak to 11 games with a single in the first inning...It was the third time this year Chicago pitching has allowed four home runs in a game.
07/05 23:06:54 ET