Ted Lilly overcame a shaky start for a victory as Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto homered Tuesday night, sending the Cubs to a 10-5 win over the Braves and running Chicago’s record at Wrigley Field to 27-8.
But it was a tough day and night for the Braves. After John Smoltz had successful shoulder surgery Tuesday—leaving his future unclear—his longtime teammate Tom Glavine was forced to leave after three innings with an elbow strain that will send him to the DL.
“That’s part of the reason I’ve been trying to fight through it with everything we have going on,” said Glavine. “Smoltzy going down, I was kind of keeping my fingers crossed that eventually this thing would start getting better, but it hasn’t.”
Glavine, who got his 300th victory at Wrigley Field last August while with the Mets, said the elbow has been bothering him for nearly a month and has gotten progressively worse. He will return to Atlanta and have an MRI.
“It hurt from the minute I started throwing tonight,” he said.
“We’re going to disable him. Give him a breather,” manager Bobby Cox said. “See if his elbow can get better. … It was hurting him like the dickens.”
This will be Glavine’s second trip to the DL this season—and second time in his 22-year career. He was on the disabled list with a hamstring injury in mid-April.
Greg Norton’s three-run homer in the first off Lilly gave Glavine an early cushion but with his control off and his elbow apparently hurting, he let it slip away.
The NL Central-leading Cubs rallied and are now 27-8 in their home ballpark this season. Lee had a solo shot in the third to tie the game and Soto a three-run drive in the eighth to put it away.
“It’s something we talked about in the spring, playing better at home,” said Lee. “I don’t know if we expected to play this well at home, but it’s been fun.”
Glavine (2-3) gave up four runs, six hits and four walks while throwing 72 pitches in his second shortest outing of the season.
“I think he was missing over the plate more than he normally does. He’s usually stingy on the corners, but he was leaving the ball up,” Lee said of Glavine.
With Chipper Jones, batting .420, missing his second straight start with a small tear in his right quadriceps, the Braves put Omar Infante into the lineup at third. He had a leadoff triple in the second but was stranded and later added an RBI single.
Jones did pinch-hit in the seventh and drew a two-out walk to finish Lilly. Jones was replaced by pinch-runner Josh Anderson before Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol got Yunel Escobar to line out with two runners on.
Lilly (6-5) worked 6 2-3 innings to get his first win since May 19. He allowed four hits and the three runs with three walks and eight strikeouts. After Infante’s triple, he retired 11 straight.
“You just feel like you’re never out of it. We’re tough and we’ve had a lot of come-from-behind wins this year,” Lilly said.
Lee led off the bottom of the third with his 14th homer to tie the game. After Aramis Ramirez walked and moved to third on two infield outs, DeRosa drew another walk before Johnson delivered an RBI single to right for a 4-3 lead.
Johnson wasn’t through. He raced to the alley in left-center to make a great catch of Infante’s liner to end the fourth. Ramirez hit an RBI single off reliever Buddy Carlyle for a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the inning. DeRosa added a run-scoring single in the seventh off Manny Acosta and the Cubs were up three.
But the Braves came back off Chicago reliever Bobby Howry with four singles in the eight, including two-out RBI hits by Brian McCann and Infante that made it 6-5 before Scott Eyre fanned Gregor Blanco.
Alfonso Soriano singled, stole second and went to third on McCann’s throwing error. After Ryan Theriot reached on Acosta’s error to put runners at the corners, Lee hit a sacrifice fly. After Ramirez was walked intentionally before Soto hit his 11th homer.
Norton made just his 11th start of the season and was batting .176 when he connected on his second homer of the season, a two-out shot that gave Glavine some working room.
After Norton homered, Lilly’s next pitch went over the head of McCann and home plate umpire Doug Eddings jumped out and immediately warned both benches.
Glavine’s shortest outing this season came on April 13 when he did not record an out against the Nationals. …The Cubs are 41-24. Through 65 games a year ago, they were 30-35. … The Braves are a major league-worst 7-22 on the road. They have lost four straight overall.