CHICAGO (AP) -- Even the windiest days at Wrigley Field hadn't
produced a power display like this.
Marcus Giles hit a three-run homer and Adam LaRoche homered
twice for the Braves. Atlanta also got solo shots from Andruw
Jones, Ryan Langerhans and Brayan Pena to complete the three-game
sweep of the Cubs, who have lost 21 of their last 25 games,
including six straight.
"Crazy day at Wrigley, that's the only way I can describe it,"
said Cox, who saw his team blow a four-run lead in the in the ninth
and then come back to win it thanks to Cubs third baseman Aramis
Ramirez dropping a routine pop-up in the 11th.
The eight home runs by the Braves broke a club record set on
Aug. 3, 1967, against the Cubs in Milwaukee. Chicago also set a
club record for giving up the most home runs in one game. The Cubs
broke the old record of seven, most recently set on Sept. 9, 2000
Pena set the club's franchise record in the seventh inning. He
hit his first career homer leading off the inning against Cubs
reliever Roberto Novoa making it 12-8.
Cox wasn't surprised by Atlanta's display of power.
"Whoever expects to hit eight home runs. You would take the bet
that there would be eight home runs on a day like this because you
don't have to hit the ball extremely hard to do it, said Cox.
After blowing a four-run lead in the ninth, the Braves scored in
the 11th when Langerhans hit a routine pop-fly that Ramirez
couldn't catch. Langerhans reached second on the error. After a
groundout advanced him to third Giles followed with a single.
"It definitely was a crazy game. A lot of things happened, a
lot of runs put up, a lot of home runs. Back and forth. It was a
bizarre game but the best part about it is we came out on top,"
Scott Eyre (0-1) took the loss for the Cubs.
Ramirez was camped under the ball but lost concentration at the
last second and had the ball bounce off his head.
"I just missed it. I thought I already had it and I took my
eyes off of it. I have no excuses, I just missed the ball, it could
happen to anybody," said Ramirez.
Oscar Villarreal (7-0) pitched a scoreless 10th inning and Ken
Ray pitched the 11th for his second save in three chances.
Cubs catcher Michael Barrett tried to put a positive spin on the
game after fighting back to tie the game in the ninth.
"It is frustrating but at the same time, I would like to stay
focused on the positive things from today's game, there is a lot of
things to be upset about, but to be honest so many weird things
have happened, I'm kind of tired of focusing on the negative
stuff," said Barrett.
The Braves bullpen couldn't hold a 12-8 lead in the ninth, Todd
Walker led off with a single to left off Lance Cormier. One out
later, Jones singled to right, chasing Cormier. Ronny Cedeno
followed with a pinch-hit double off of Chris Reitsma, cutting the
lead to 12-9. Neifi Perez followed with a two-run triple off the
wall in right. Freddie Bynum tied the game at 12 with a slow
bouncer that Reitsma picked up and threw home to Pena, who wasn't
able to put the tag on Perez.
It was Reitsma's fourth blown save of the season.
Braves starter John Smoltz gave up eight runs and 10 hits in six
"Everything that could happen happened in this game," said
Smoltz. I'm still trying to figure out how I gave up (eight)
Chicago pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu, making his first major league start
was overmatched by the Braves lineup. He gave up four home runs to
the first 10 batters he faced and was chased after working only 1
"It wasn't an easy day to pitch out there, the wind was blowing
out really hard and its tough for a young guy to pitch in
conditions like that because they're just learning, even John
Smoltz gave up eight runs," Michael Barrett said.
Tony Womack made his first start of the season for the
Cubs. ... Smoltz came up lame after covering first base in the
second inning. He stayed in the game after he threw several warmup
tosses. ... Jeff Francoeur threw out Barrett at the plate from
right on a fly in the second inning. Barrett was trying to score
from second on Ramirez's single. Todd Pratt, who put the tag on
Barrett left the game after the inning and was replaced by Pena.
... Smoltz broke his errorless streak at 262 games with an error in
the sixth inning.