(Monday, May 7th)
Final Score: Chicago 5, Atlanta 1
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Bryan LaHair, Ian Stewart and Geovany Soto all smacked homers, while Jeff Samardzija tossed seven solid frames as the Chicago Cubs downed the Atlanta Braves, 5-1, in the opener of a three-game set.
"I just envision myself doing certain things in my career...I believe in myself the whole way," LaHair said of his confidence so far this season.
Samardzija (4-1) fanned seven and allowed a run on five hits and two walks for the Cubs, who have won three of their last four games.
Jason Heyward belted a solo shot for the Braves, who were coming off a three- game sweep over the Colorado Rockies.
Tommy Hanson (3-3) gave up two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings to absorb the loss.
"I felt good today. I felt like I was throwing strikes. There's always room for improvement, but I felt good today," Hanson said.
The Braves struck first in the second inning as Heyward launched a towering fly ball which carried into the front row of the bleachers in right field.
The Cubs, though, surged ahead in the fourth frame on back-to-back homers from LaHair and Stewart before adding an insurance run in the seventh and two more in the eighth.
LaHair's eighth homer of the season was deposited into the seats in right- center field, while Stewart hammered a low fastball virtually into the same spot. Chicago nearly made it three consecutive homers as Reed Johnson cracked one deep into left-center field, but Martin Prado ran the ball down at the warning track.
In the seventh, David DeJesus reached first after being hit by a pitch. Tony Campana then legged out a bunt single and Starlin Castro brought DeJesus home with a base hit up the middle, making it 3-1 in favor of the Cubs.
Carlos Marmol came on in the eighth and immediately walked Michael Bourn and Prado. But he settled down to get Freddie Freeman on a lineout to shortstop and registered back-to-back strikeouts of Brian McCann and Dan Uggla to end the threat.
Darwin Barney recorded a one-out single in the eighth and Soto followed by launching a two-run shot over the wall in center field to make it 5-1.
James Russell worked around a Chipper Jones leadoff double in the ninth to preserve the win.
Hanson is 0-3 with a 4.41 ERA in his career against the Cubs...Heyward, who went 1-for-3, is 10-for-26 (.385) all-time against Chicago...Bourn stole two bags and now has 11 on the year...Castro's RBI was his 19th...Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected in the seventh inning after a warning was issued to Atlanta pitcher Eric O'Flaherty.
05/08 03:38:43 ET