Baseball / Sports

Braves trounce Cubs, 11-6

CHICAGO -- With the wind blowing out Saturday at Wrigley Field, Atlanta Braces pitcher Mike Minor didn't give up any home runs and hit one himself. It was a good day to be a Brave.

Chris Johnson hit a pair of two-run homers in his first two at-bats, including one that drove in the first runs of a six-run fourth inning that sent the Braves to a 11-6 win against the Chicago Cubs.

The Braves won for just the second time in seven games and evened the series at a game apiece. They'll send ace Julio Teheran to the mound Sunday against lefty Travis Wood in the series finale and last game before the All-Star break.

The two home runs for Johnson matched his total from the previous 86 games. Johnson homered in the third game of the season and had only two homers and 18 RBIs in 332 at-bats since then, before driving balls to the left-field bleachers in the second and fourth innings against Edwin Jackson (5-10).

Minor (3-5) didn't have one of his best pitching lines -- six innings, 11 hits, six runs -- but he was good enough to snap his nine-start winless streak and improve to 6-0 in six career starts against the Cubs. The win was the first for the left-hander since May 19 aaginst Milwaukee

His fourth-inning homer off Jackson was his second in 182 career at-bats for Minor, who hit one against the Mets in New York last season on May 25.

Four of the six runs against Minor scored on a passed ball and a pair of doubles that seemed catchable, including a liner off the glove of center fielder B.J. Upton.

Chris Coghlan added a two-run double in the fifth inning that went over the head of left fielder Justin Upton after he got a bad read on the ball and initially took a step or two in. When he went back, it was too late.

For Johnson, it was the third multi-homer game of his career and came at one of the Braves third baseman's favorite places to hit. The former Houston Astro has a .337 average with 11 extra-base hits and five home runs in 23 games at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a walk and four hits, including Chris Coghlan's RBI double. The damage might have been worse if rookie catcher Christian Bethancourt hadn't thrown out Justin Ruggiano trying to advance on ball that briefly got away from the catcher.

Johnson tied the score in the second when he crushed a hanging 1-and-0 slider, and the Braves moved ahead in the third after B.J. Upton hit a leadoff double and scored on Andrelton Simmons' single.

The Cubs came right back and tied it moved back ahead in the third when Justin Ruggiano hit a leadoff double and scored on Welington Castillo's double that glanced off B.J. Upton's glove. But the Braves blew the game open in the fourth with six runs on a walk and five hits including Jason Heyward's double to start the inning.

(c)2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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