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Cubs outlast Braves in 15

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Cubs outlast Braves in 15

Postby WebHamster » Sat Apr 10, 2004 3:00 am

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Tom Goodwin drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the 15th inning after Todd Hollandsworth tied it with a solo homer in the ninth, as the Chicago Cubs held on for a 2-1 win over Atlanta in the opener of a three-game series at Turner Field.

In a matchup of last season's division series, which Chicago won, it took a sac fly into foul territory with the bases loaded for the Cubs to finally score in the 15th.

Derrek Lee scored on the play to make a winner out of Kent Mercker (1-0), who pitched a scoreless 14th inning. Mercker was the seventh of eight Chicago pitchers.

Joe Borowski got three outs in the 15th for his second save.

Aramis Ramirez was 4-for-7 for the Cubs, and Lee went 2-for-4 with three walks. Eddie Perez was the only Atlanta player with more than one hit.

Ramirez led off the 15th with a double off Will Cunnane (1-1) and advanced to third when Lee singled on a 3-2 pitch. Ramon Martinez then grounded into a fielder's choice with Ramirez getting forced out at home, but Michael Barrett walked after that.

Goodwin then knocked in the winning run with a sac fly outside the right field line. Atlanta rightfielder J.D. Drew opted to catch the ball instead of letting it land foul.

"Now that I look back at it, I was kinda watching him and the ball was actually coming back (into fair territory)," Goodwin said. "It would have been a risky move to let it fall. That's probably what he was looking at."

The Braves nearly had this one wrapped up with John Smoltz on the mound in the ninth inning when Hollandsworth hit a two-out homer to right field on the first pitch he saw. It was the third home run surrendered by Smoltz in three innings this season. He gave up just two all of last year.

"He just made one bad pitch," Atlanta starter Horacio Ramirez said. "He threw the ball well. I don't think there's any reason to lose confidence in him."

Ramirez was set to get the win after he pitched seven scoreless innings in a tough no decision. He surrendered four hits and five walks, striking out five.

"I was happy with the way I threw the ball," Ramirez said. "The main objective is to win the game, and we didn't."

Chicago got an equally good start from Carlos Zambrano, who also pitched seven strong innings. He surrendered just one run on two hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts.

Andruw Jones led off the second inning with his first homer of the season for the Braves, driving a high sinker over the left field wall for the early run.

Atlanta had a two-game winning streak snapped after taking the final two games of a three-game season-opening set against the Mets. Chicago dropped two-of- three to the Reds in its first series.

The Cubs were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base before tying the game in the ninth.

Neither team was hurting for baserunners in the extra innings

Chicago had a runner at third base in both the 11th and 12th innings, but each time the Braves escaped trouble. Antonio Alfonseca fanned Barrett looking in the 11th, and Juan Cruz got Moises Alou to fly out to end the 12th.

Atlanta then loaded the bases in the bottom of the 12th, but Cubs reliever Todd Wellmeyer struck out Perez to end the inning.

Wellmeyer escaped another bases-loaded jam in the 13th when he got Jones to pop out to right field for the third out.

The Braves lost All-Star shortstop Rafael Furcal to a strained lower back in the sixth inning.

Furcal fouled back a 1-0 pitch leading off the bottom of the sixth, and left the game after getting checked out by an Atlanta trainer. He was replaced by Jesse Garcia, who struck out swinging two pitches later.
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