Uggla’s 8th-inning hit lifts Braves past Cubs

CHICAGO — Randall Delgado didn’t get a win with his strong performance Tuesday night, but the Braves made sure the rookie pitcher didn’t get a loss.

Dan Uggla drove in two runs with a tie-breaking, bases-loaded single in the eighth inning to propel the Braves to a 3-1 win against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, their fourth in five games on a nine-game trip.

“Delgado’s been battling and throwing great,” Uggla said. “Tonight he really pitched his butt off and gave us a chance to win. I hate that we couldn’t get him a ‘w,’  but I’m sure he’ll be OK. He’s a great kid and just wants to win.”

Delgado took a shutout into the sixth inning in a duel with Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. Braves hitters fared better after  reliever Kerry Wood entered in the eighth inning.

Michael Bourn led off the eighth with a single that extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and Martin Prado walked to put two on with none out.

Freddie Freeman hit a grounder and hustled to first to prevent a double play, and Brian McCann walked to load the bases with one out.

Uggla singled to left-center field to deflate Wrigley denizens in a crowd of 38,523. The Cubs won 5-1 in Monday’s series opener behind pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

“Samardzija was really good; Dempster was just as good,” Uggla said. “We got a few things going [in the eighth]. Got Mikey on, got a great at-bat by Prado, Freddie beating that double play out, Mac another great at-bat. Then I was just trying to get something in the air toward the middle of the field and ended up finding a hole. That’s what we needed.”

The Braves will send Tim Hudson to the mound against Cubs left-hander Paul Maholm on Wednesday afternoon in the rubber game of the series.

The Cubs threatened in the eighth against Jonny Venters, who gave up two singles before inducing a 4-6-3 double-play grounder by hot-hitting Bryan LaHair. The play featured a lightning-quick relay turn by shortstop Jack Wilson, a late-innings defensive replacement.

“It’s first and third and you’re staring at [Alfonso] Soriano in a two-run game in the eighth inning if we don’t turn that double play,” Gonzalez said. “Not many guys can do that. Wow…. Turned the game around.”

Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect ninth inning for his 10th save in 11 chances.

Delgado’s past two starts have been his best of the season, and he showed moxie working out of a couple of jams on a night when the wind blew out to right field. The ballpark  can be treacherous for pitchers under those conditions.

Delgado gave up one run on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs in eight innings of Thursday’s loss to Philadelphia.

“Back-to-back outings for him that were exceptional,” Gonzalez said. “He goes from an eight-inning outing against Philly, got the loss, to coming in here and getting nothing. But he’s pitched terrific. Every game he’s pitched I think he’s learned something.”

The 22-year-old Panamanian relied plenty on his vaunted change-up.

“I think my curveball and fastball [worked well], too,” Delgado said. “Keeping it down in the zone  –  that was the key for my change-up today.”

He has a 1.98 ERA in his past two starts, with nine hits,  three walks and 10 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. He also contributed with his bat Tuesday — a fifth-inning single, the second hit of his career.

“I think it’s come to be expected,” catcher Brian McCann said. “The guy is learning on the fly up here. He’s got all the pitches to be successful, he’s got poise, he  holds runners – he does everything you want. And tonight he had everything going and he pitched a great game.”

The Braves broke a scoreless tie in the fifth after Jason Heyward led off with a triple to right field. Tyler Pastornicky followed with a sacrifice fly.

After LaHair’s leadoff walk in the Cubs’ second inning, Delgado retired the next three batters including two strikeouts.

After David DeJesus hit a two-out double in the third, Delgado struck out Tony Campana.

In the fourth, after Starlin Castro reached on an error by third baseman Chipper Jones and Soriano walked with one out. Delgado struck out the next two batters, Ian Stewart and Geovany Soto.

All five of his strikeouts were important.

“The change-up was as good tonight as I’ve caught it,” McCann said. “It almost acted like a split. That was kind of his pitch tonight, and he got ahead of everybody. And when you do those things and as a catcher you can go anywhere you want to go, both sides of the plate, the pitches kind of tell you where to go next. That’s what he did tonight. We were in a groove and he made all his pitches.”

The Cubs got their only run against Delgado in the sixth inning, after Campana’s leadoff single. He came around to score the tying run on Soriano’s double to the right-field corner on the eighth pitch, a sinker over the middle.

“We were trying to go sinker in,” McCann said. “And it was one of those situations where with a left-hander on deck we knew he’d bring [Eric] O’Flaherty in, and first base was open. Those are little things that he [Delgado] will learn. The last pitch was going to be a sinker in his hands, either for a ball or a broken bat. But it leaked over the middle.

“He pitched an unbelievable game. That pitch right there was supposed to be in, and really it was the only time all night that he missed a spot.”

Delgado said, “I tried to be perfect on the inside of the the strike zone, but I left the pitch right in the midde, a little bit up. And he hit it.”

It was Delgado’s 101st and final pitch. O’Flaherty was brought in to face Stewart and got him on a groundout to end the inning with the score 1-all.

Dempster allowed one run and six hits in seven innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts. It’s the only earned run he’s given up in his past three starts, during which he’s allowed 13 hits and four walks with 21 strikeouts in 21 innings.

24 comments Add your comment

GO BRAVES!!!

May 8th, 2012
11:35 pm

Enter your comments here

GO BRAVES!!!

May 8th, 2012
11:36 pm

Win the ship for Chip

Ric

May 8th, 2012
11:50 pm

Thanks for not putting in Durbin so we could win this one. Thanks to all of our hot hitters for the wins. Now if Huddy and Minor can get out of the first innings over the next few days, it’ll be nice.

win the ship 4 chip

May 8th, 2012
11:54 pm

Michael Procton

May 9th, 2012
12:16 am

Ric, the Braves have won five of the last seven games in which Durbin has pitched. That’s 71%. They’ve won 19 of 31 on the year. That’s 61%. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of your argument.

The master of baseball

May 9th, 2012
12:28 am

Bobby Dews

May 9th, 2012
12:30 am

I agree. Durbin has been a nice surprise for the Braves so far. I have not heard a word about Kimbral and he has given up 3 runs in his past 4 games. If Durbin can keep this up all year, I assure you, it will be well worth the small amount we are paying him.

J-Man

May 9th, 2012
12:56 am

Michael Procton dont let his 8.25 ERA get in the way of your “FACTS”

ohhhhYEAH

May 9th, 2012
1:15 am

Ric

you forgot to mention Durbins two wins in the past week also. But again, im sure he didnt need to know that to make his argument either lol

joey jay

May 9th, 2012
1:31 am

We do need Durbin, as an 85 MPH batting practice pitcher. Noticed that ours wasn’ very good and was lobbing it in there. Put Durbin in as BP.

JNick

May 9th, 2012
2:39 am

Um…Braves are 5-4 in the last 9 games Durbin has pitched in, and 8-6 overall (3 of those wins were blowouts, another was headed to a blowout before he gave up 3 runs in an inning to make it a closer 7-4 game). 11 earned runs in 12 innings pitched, and leads all relievers in HR allowed (5) and has one more K than BB on the year – what about any of that do you call overwhelmingly good?

Get a clue…don’t distort stats.

Wrecker

May 9th, 2012
5:39 am

The Braves win when Durbin pitches, but not because of anything he does. He is already -0.6 in WAR this season.

Dwayne

May 9th, 2012
6:17 am

Durbin is not that good….no stats needed. Where are all the cubbie fans today?

Matt

May 9th, 2012
8:51 am

Uhhhhh I wouldn’t call use the following to describe 5 hits and 3 walks in 5 2/3 innings; “excellent” “outstanding” “pitched his butt off” “unbelievable”. Rather I would use “adequate” or “good enough”. The Braves are using adjectives that would describe his last outing. Pitching has to be better as this offense will not sustain this surge for very long. JJ might be replacing Minor pretty soon.

Bobby Dews

May 9th, 2012
9:59 am

who said JJ was coming back soon? I’ve heard the opposite.

Bobby Dews

May 9th, 2012
10:01 am

Oh, and I never said Durbin was great but with all the work our pen has had to do, he has been a nice surprise. Yes, he has given up some runs but every pitcher is not going to be a Venters or Kimbral.

panamajack

May 9th, 2012
10:54 am

Mets had no problem with Blanton last night, hmmmm!

Skokie Dog

May 9th, 2012
12:26 pm

Kerry Wood doesn’t appear to follow Fredi’s rule about tipping his cap. How does “gotta toss your glove into the stands to those Braves tonight” sound?

Matt

May 9th, 2012
12:33 pm

JJ has been doing pretty well in AAA. WIth minor’s struggles I assumed they would be swapping soon.

Greg Norton

May 9th, 2012
1:12 pm

I tossed my bat into the stands one time. It didn’t hit anybody though. I can’t hit anything with it.

Mark's for the Braves

May 9th, 2012
1:22 pm

Why can’t we all be happy the Braves are tied for first in the NL East and cut the crap about Durbin, Minor, O’Flaherty and whoever else we want to degrade until we start losing and really have something to complain about?

Mark's for the Braves

May 9th, 2012
1:22 pm

Why can’t we all be happy the Braves are tied for first in the NL East and cut the crap about Durbin, Minor, O’Flaherty and whoever else we want to degrade until we start losing and really have something to complain about?

Lobosolo

May 9th, 2012
2:48 pm

Because that is the nature of armchairzer sufferers… they must be negative, they musn’t learn anything of which they speak, and above all else, they must cry at all costs…

AtlantaMelo

May 9th, 2012
5:52 pm

It truly is pathetic how negative the posters can be when we are doing do well. I agree that Durbin is our weakest releiver and wouldn’t mind seeing Gearrin but some of the folks on here need to check their blood pressure.

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