Atlanta, GA – Paul Maholm tossed six solid innings and the Chicago Cubs topped the Braves, 5-1, in the third portion of a four-game series.
Maholm (6-6) pitched his second straight strong outing, allowing one run on eight hits and a walk while striking out five. The 30-year--old left-hander pitched 8 1/3 scoreless against Houston in his last start.
Bryan LaHair, Jeff Baker and Anthony Rizzo hit solo home runs for the Cubs, who have won seven of their last nine. For Rizzo, it was his third home run in 31 at-bats since being recalled on June 26.
"We're starting to come together a little bit," LaHair said. "We're still working hard and grinding at-bats out and those kind of things. Good things happen when you're doing it."
"They had good pitching when we faced them the first time," Braves outfielder Michael Bourn said. "We know they got pretty good pitching, man. They put some runs on the board today. They've been playing pretty good as of late. We just have to continue to work and continue to battle."
Randall Delgado (4-9) was lost his fourth straight decision for the Braves after allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in six-plus innings. He struck out five.
Bourn picked up three hits, including a double and triple, but Atlanta lost for the fifth time in its last seven games.
The Cubs took the lead in the first. Starlin Castro worked a one-out walk and advanced to third on Rizzo's base hit. Then, with Rizzo heading to second, Castro dashed home on the throw to give the Cubs an early lead.
The Braves wasted a bases-loaded chance in the first, but tied it in the third. Following Bourn's triple, Martin Prado bounced a ground ball that deflected off the glove of third baseman Luis Valbuena for a base hit, scoring Bourn.
In the fourth, LaHair drove a 2-0 fastball well over the right-field fence to give the Cubs the lead again.
The Braves had an opportunity to tie the game in the sixth inning when Chipper Jones singled and Freddie Freeman was hit by a pitch with one out. Two batters later, Davis Ross sent a single to left, Jones was thrown out at the plate by Alfonso Soriano to preserve Chicago's lead.
Darwin Barney started the seventh with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. Baker then clubbed his second pinch-hit home run of the season to give Chicago a three-run lead.
Rizzo, facing Anthony Varvaro, lined his second homer in three days to lead off the eighth.
James Russell pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Maholm and Carlos Marmol tossed a perfect ninth.
"Made a few big pitches," Maholm said. "Obviously with three home runs ... extending the lead there in the seventh was big for us. I think overall that's a big-time team game with Russ coming in shutting the door and Carlos coming in in the ninth and having a clean inning."
The Cubs won on July 4 for the first time since 2008, when the posted a 2-1 triumph in St. Louis...In his last nine outings, Marmol is 1-0 and 6-for-6 in save opportunities with a 1.10 ERA (one earned run in 8 2/3 innings) and 15 punchouts...Russell has posted a 2.22 ERA in 100 games since the beginning of the 2011 season (22 earned runs in 89 innings), the second-best mark by a National League left-handed reliever to Atlanta's Eric O'Flaherty...Maholm is 2-0 against the Braves this year and has allowed one run in 13 innings...By going 1-for-3, Prado extended his hitting streak to 10 games...Jones, who went 2-for-4 to follow up Tuesday's five-hit performance, extended his hit streak to 11 games...Atlanta's offense has scored a total of 16 runs in Delgado's nine losses...Baker has five career pinch-hit home runs. The other this season came June 5 at Milwaukee...The Cubs have six pinch-hit home runs this season.