ATLANTA -- Andruw Jones hit his major league-leading 27th
homer and prized rookie Jeff Francoeur added a three-run shot in a
six-run eighth inning as the Atlanta Braves beat Chicago 9-4 on
Thursday night to sweep a doubleheader and extend the Cubs' worst
losing streak in three years.
Chicago's eight-game slide is its worst since dropping nine in a
row from May 8-18, 2002.
Before The All-Star Break
The Cubs blew a 4-3 lead when Jones' two-run shot chased
reliever Roberto Novoa (2-2). Francoeur, an outfielder considered
the top prospect in the Atlanta organization, was called up from
Double-A Mississippi earlier in the day and he homered off Glendon
Rusch for his first career hit.
John Foster (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the win as
the Braves, who have won 16 of 21, batted around in the bottom half
of the inning. Marcus Giles ended the scoring with an RBI single.
Horacio Ramirez (8-5) won the opener 6-0 with his first career
shutout. The Braves chased Chicago starter Mark Prior (5-3) in the
fifth when Julio Franco hit a three-run homer.
Aramis Ramirez put the Cubs ahead 1-0 in the fourth inning of
the second game with an RBI single that ended the team's streak of
19 consecutive scoreless innings. He added his 19th homer in the
sixth, a two-run shot that made it 4-3.
The Braves had taken a 3-2 lead in the fifth on Rafael Furcal's
sixth homer, a two-run shot.
Jerome Williams started for the Cubs and allowed eight hits and
three runs in six innings.
John Smoltz, who sought his first win as a starter over the Cubs
since April 5, 1997, went seven innings for the seventh time in
eight starts. He allowed six hits and four runs. He entered with a
15-4 career record, a 2.83 ERA and eight saves against Chicago.
The Cubs, playing their second straight game without All-Star
first baseman Derrek Lee, had been outscored 15-1 in the first
three games of the series.
Lee leads the majors with a .377 average, but he felt a twinge
in his left shoulder as he struck out Tuesday. He is listed as
Francoeur, an Atlanta native and a first-round draft pick
in 2002, received a standing ovation in the third as he made his
first career at-bat. He grounded out to third. ... The Cubs lost
seven straight from April 30-May 7. ... Braves starters Tim Hudson
and Mike Hampton said they will pitch another simulated game
Saturday instead of making a rehab start in Class A.
- Home Plate Umpire - Laz Diaz
- First Base Umpire - Dana Demuth
- Second Base Umpire - Troy Fullwood
- Third Base Umpire - Casey Moser