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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, May 7th (All times Eastern)

Atlanta Braves (18-11) at Chicago Cubs (11-17), 8:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Tommy Hanson (3-2, 3.74) Chicago - Jeff Samardzija (3-1, 3.41)

(Sports Network) - While one ballclub is nearing the top of its respective division, the other resides in the basement.

The Atlanta Braves sit one-half game behind Washington in the National League East standings and will resume a nine-game road trip Monday with the first of three games against the NL Central's last-place team, the Chicago Cubs.

Atlanta heads to historic Wrigley Field fresh off a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies and broke out the brooms with Sunday's 7-2 triumph. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and Dan Uggla added a solo shot with a pair of RBI for Atlanta, which recorded its first road sweep of the Rockies since 2003.

Brandon Beachy started for the Braves and was solid in giving up two runs over 6 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and three walks.

"There's a part of me that says you have to tip your cap to the job that (Beachy) did," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "What he did today is what we didn't do in the first two games of this series."

The Braves are averaging eight runs in their last five games and will send Tommy Hanson to the mound in tonight's series opener. Hanson is 3-2 with a 3.74 ERA in six starts and did not perform well the last time out in a 15-13 win over Philadelphia last Wednesday. Hanson lasted just 3 2/3 innings and was reached for four runs and eight hits before Atlanta's bats woke up to get him the no-decision.

Hanson, a right-hander, is 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA lifetime against the Cubs.

Chicago will resume a six-game homestand tonight and has alternated wins and losses through its past 11 games. It is coming off Sunday's 4-3 win in 11 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

David DeJesus walked with the bases loaded in the 11th, scoring Darwin Barney for the game-winner. Starlin Castro had two RBI, Bryan LaHair collected three hits and Tony Campana had two hits and drove in a run for the Cubs.

"It took almost all 25 guys to do it, let alone the sick guys coming off the bench to do it, so it was a nice little team effort there," said Cubs manager Dave Sveum.

Cubs starter Travis Wood, who had two hits and a run scored, did not record a decision with six innings of three-run ball. Rafael Dolis tossed the final two innings for the win.

Jeff Samardzija will make his sixth start tonight for Chicago and is 3-1 with a 3.41 earned run average. In a 3-1 win at Cincinnati last Wednesday, Samardzija held the Reds to a run and three hits in 7 2/3 innings. He also fanned seven and walked two batters.

The righty has no record and a 5.68 ERA in six career relief appearances against the Braves, spanning 6 1/3 frames.

Chicago lost four of seven matchups with the Braves a year ago.

05/07 11:09:10 ET