Friday, August 15, 2008
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Summer 'Mutts'

Cubs cap sweep of Braves despite Kotsay's cycle

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[August 15, 2008]  ATLANTA, Ga. (AP) -- A brief benches-clearing skirmish and only the second cycle in Atlanta history couldn't stop the Chicago Cubs from completing their first season sweep of the Braves.

Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano hit home runs and the Cubs beat Atlanta 11-7 on Thursday night, giving Chicago a sweep of the six-game series for the first time since the rivalry between the franchises began in 1876.

Mark Kotsay went 5-for-5 and joined Albert Hall as the only Atlanta players to single, double, triple and homer in the same game.

Kotsay drove in a run with a second-inning triple, homered off Chicago starter Ted Lilly in the fourth and added singles in the sixth off Lilly and the ninth off Kerry Wood. Kotsay's seventh-inning double off reliever Bob Howry was his 1,500th career hit.

The Cubs, who swept the Braves in a three-game series in Chicago June 10-12, were dominant in adding three straight wins in Atlanta. The Cubs outscored the Braves 29-9 to stretch their overall road winning streak to eight games, Chicago's longest since 12 straight wins away from Wrigley Field in 1945.

The Cubs spoiled the return of Braves left-hander Tom Glavine (2-4), who gave up seven hits and seven runs in four innings in his first start since June 10. Glavine walked four batters and had three strikeouts in his return from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow.


Lilly (12-6) lasted six innings, giving up eight hits and four runs.

It wasn't a save situation, but Wood gave up two hits in the ninth after manager Lou Piniella said earlier Thursday the right-hander is back in the closer's role.

Carlos Marmol pitched 1 1-3 perfect innings in his return to the set-up role.

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Lilly hit Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar with a pitch in the sixth inning to start a brief altercation. Escobar was upset as he pointed and yelled at Lilly. Escobar had to be restrained by plate umpire C.B. Bucknor, but other players showed a little emotion as they walked onto the field from both benches and bullpens.

There were no punches and no ejections.

The altercation came after Braves rookie left-hander Francisley Bueno was suspended for three games on Thursday. Bob Watson, baseball's vice president for discipline, said Bueno intentionally threw a pitch near Soriano's head in Wednesday's first game of a doubleheader.

Bueno's suspension and undisclosed fine came after he was optioned to Triple-A Richmond.

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Ramirez hit a three-run homer in the third before leaving the game in the fifth with a bruised left hip.

Ramirez led off the fifth with a single and was on second base when Kotsay lost Geovany Soto's fly ball to center field. The ball dropped for a double, and Ramirez slid headfirst across the plate as second baseman Martin Prado's relay home sailed beyond catcher Clint Sammons' reach for an error.

Ramirez lay face-down near the plate for a few seconds before walking off the field. He did not take the field in the bottom of the fifth.

Soriano added a two-run homer in the fourth.

The Cubs jumped on Glavine for three hits and two runs in the first. Reed Johnson drove in a run with a bases-loaded single. Soto walked to force in another run.

Jeff Francoeur had three hits, including a three-run homer, for Atlanta. It was his first homer since July 9.

Notes: Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster's scheduled start on Saturday at Florida was pushed back to Sunday. Piniella said Dempster has to attend to a personal matter and won't arrive in Miami before late Saturday. LHP Sean Marshall will start Saturday's game. ... Hall hit for the cycle on Sept. 23, 1987 against Houston.

[Associated Press; By CHARLES ODUM]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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