Braves rally to beat Cubs 5-3

Posted: 21/08/2010 in MLB

Ankiel leads Braves to late win over Cubs

Rick Ankiel hit a bases-loaded triple off Carlos Marmol with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the Braves to a 5-3 win over the Cubs in the opener of a three-game series.

Marmol (2-3) walked the bases loaded with one away before striking out Melky Cabrera. But on a 2-2 count, Marmol threw a slider down in the zone but over the plate, and Ankiel ripped it to the right field corner for a triple.

“In close ball games, base runners will beat you, and especially when you’re giving free passes,” said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. “He’s got the ability to strike you out, obviously, but not all the time.”

Billy Wagner held the Cubs off the scoreboard in the bottom half to secure the win for the NL East-leading Braves, who have won eight of 10.

Omar Infante went 2-for-4 with a home run for Atlanta, while Derrek Lee played in his first game for the Braves since they acquired him from the Cubs on Wednesday. Lee, who received an ovation from his former home crowd during his first plate appearance, went 0-for-4.

“Nerves were a little extra, emotions going on today. So hopefully tomorrow I can settle down, have a few more good at-bats,” Lee said.

Marmol spoiled a good start from Ryan Dempster, who limited the Braves to two runs on four hits and two walks in eight innings, while striking out seven.

Aramis Ramirez hit a home run and run-scoring double for the Cubs, who have dropped eight in a row at Wrigley Field.

Chicago got on the scoreboard in the second inning, when consecutive singles from Blake DeWitt, Xavier Nady and Koyie Hill plated a run. Infante’s two-out solo shot in the third tied the game before the Braves edged in front in the fourth thanks to Alex Gonzalez’s RBI ground-rule double.

But Ramirez opened the bottom half with his 18th homer of the season, slamming a first-pitch changeup to left to make it a 2-2 game.

Chicago, though, took the lead again in the sixth, when Marlon Byrd tripled with one out and Ramirez followed with a double.

But Braves starter Jair Jurrjens got out of the inning, then threw a scoreless seventh to finish his outing and keep the game close. He gave up nine hits, walked one and struck out two.

Dempster retired the final nine batters he faced to conclude his start, while Peter Moylan (5-2) pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth to send the game into the ninth.

Marmol walked leadoff batter Martin Prado on five pitches before fanning Lee on three fastballs in the next at-bat. But the Cubs closer walked Brian McCann on a full count before throwing four consecutive balls to Gonzalez to load the bases. Marmol then got Cabrera swinging on three straight pitches to bring Ankiel to the plate.

– Stephen (DS LLC.)

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