Braves 9, Cubs 5
ATLANTA (AP)—The Atlanta Braves’ offense broke out of its June slump in time to rescue a suddenly depleted starting rotation.
Hudson left the game in the third inning after he was hit on his left leg by Jacque Jones’ sharply hit grounder. The right-hander limped slightly as he walked off the field with a bruised leg. X-rays were negative.
Hudson’s leg was swollen, but with the help of an extra off day this week, he said he doesn’t expect to miss a start.
“If it’s not broken, I’ll be fine,” Hudson said, before adding: “It got stiff really quick.”
The loss of Hudson came after the Braves placed starter Lance Cormier on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a tired arm. Also Saturday, John Smoltz said he’ll skip his scheduled start Sunday against the Cubs as he recovers from inflammation in his right shoulder.
Moylan was the first of five relievers who combined for seven scoreless innings.
“All goose eggs for the bullpen—that was a lifesaver tonight,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
Atlanta had been held to one run in four of their last five losses, including back-to-back losses in the first two games of the series with the Cubs.
“We’ve got a good-hitting team,” Cox said. “We’ve hit all season.”
One night after Alfonso Soriano hit the first pitch of the game for his first of three home runs, Hudson hit Soriano with a first-pitch fastball under Soriano’s left shoulder.
Plate umpire Tim Tschida issued warnings to both benches, prompting Cubs manager Lou Piniella to emerge from the dugout—apparently to ask why his team should receive a warning.
Cox said Hudson was just trying to throw inside to move Soriano off the plate. Piniella wasn’t so sure.
“If you’re going to give a warning, you have to think there was some intent,” Piniella said. “I don’t know if it was deliberate. Hudson has pretty good control.”
Soriano believed Hudson tried to hit him.
“I think so, because he didn’t hit anybody else and he has good control,” Soriano said.
Hudson insisted he didn’t try to hit Soriano.
“Obviously, I wasn’t trying to hit the guy,” Hudson said. “Was I trying to throw a pitch in off the plate? Sure. He’s been hot. He killed us the day before. He hit the first pitch out for a homer.
“I was just trying to move him off the plate. He’s pretty close to the plate. A guy who hits homers and crowds the plate, they’re going to get hit every now and then. But was it on purpose? No. But it definitely opened up an inning for them.”
Mike Fontenot, who started at second after his call-up from Triple-A Iowa, drove in Jones with a single for a 4-0 lead.
Tschida issued another warning when Moylan hit Cubs reliever Sean Gallagher with a pitch in the fourth. Again, Piniella complained, but this time he didn’t leave the bench.
Cubs starter Jason Marquis (5-3) gave up Jones’ two-run homer in the first and was knocked out of the game in Atlanta’s four-run second inning.
“We score four runs against a good pitcher in the first, and before you know it, we’re behind by two,” Piniella said.
Marquis gave up four hits and six runs, two earned, in 1 2-3 innings.
Scott Thorman reached on a throwing error by Marquis to set up four unearned runs in the second. Kelly Johnson, Renteria and Jones drove in runs to knock Marquis out of the game, and Brian McCann singled off Gallagher to drive in the fourth run of the inning for a 6-4 lead.
Lee led off the third with a single off Hudson and scored on Jacque Jones’ grounder to cut Atlanta’s lead to 6-5.
Moylan (2-1) came in and allowed no hits and walked one for the win.
“I wasn’t expecting to be in as early as I was, but I’ve thrown three innings before (in spring training),” Moylan said.
Hudson gave up five hits and five runs in two innings, and his ERA rose from 3.09 to 3.51.
Renteria hit a two-run homer, his ninth, in the fourth and added a run-scoring double in the sixth.
The Braves recalled pitcher Buddy Carlyle to start Sunday.
Renteria had his second four-RBI game of the season. … Gallagher, called up from Double-A Tennessee on Wednesday, made his major league debut for the Cubs, giving up three hits and two runs in 3 1-3 innings. … Jones made a diving catch to take a hit away from Michael Barrett in the seventh. … Soriano threw out Thorman at the plate in the seventh. … The attendance was 51,816, the sixth-largest crowd in Atlanta history and fourth-largest in Turner Field history.