Braves 4, Cubs 1

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Left-hander Mike Minor continued his mastery of Chicago, allowing five hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 4-1 win over the Cubs on Friday at Turner Field.

Minor (1-0) improved his career record against the Cubs to 5-0. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter.

The Cubs scored on a solo homer by Scott Hairston, but managed to get only one other runner in scoring position.

Minor was lifted in the eighth after Dioner Navarro's one-out pinch-hit single. Reliever Eric O'Flaherty retired the final two batters to end the threat. Closer Craig Kimbrell pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out one, to earn his second save.

The Atlanta offense was led by Justin Upton, who hit his third home run of the season in the first inning and added a sacrifice fly.

The Braves gave Minor some breathing room in the fifth when Juan Francisco sliced a two-RBI single to left field with two outs.

Scott Feldman (0-1) lasted only 4 2/3 innings in his starting debut with the Cubs. The free-agent signee allowed four runs on five hits and four walks, with a hit batsman and two wild pitches.

The Braves struck first when Upton lined an 0-2 pitch into the left-center field stands.

Atlanta took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Andrelton Simmons led off with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Upton's sacrifice fly to right field.

Atlanta starter Mike Minor retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced, five on strikeouts. The only hit he allowed through four innings was a double by Alberto Gonzalez.

The Cubs broke through in the fifth when Hairston hit his first home run, a solo shot well into the left-field stands that cut Atlanta's lead to 2-1.

The Braves chased Feldman with a two-out rally in the fifth inning. It appeared the bases-loaded threat had ended when Francisco struck out, but the foul tip was dropped by catcher Welington Castillo. Two pitches later Francisco served a looper into left field that drove in Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton.

Notes: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro appeared in his 200th consecutive game. It is the longest active streak in the National League and second-longest in baseball behind Detroit's Prince Fielder (345). ... Brent Lillibridge got his second start at third base for the Cubs. The former Brave has also started two games at second base and can play first base, shortstop and center field. ... Chicago's Steve Clevenger celebrated his 27th birthday on Friday, but did not earn his first start. ... The Braves stole their first three bases of the season after failing to attempt one in three games against the Phillies. ... The weather was much better at Turner Field on Friday. The temperature at game time was 62 degrees, 20 degrees higher than Thursday's game against Philadelphia. ... In a pregame ceremony, the Braves and Major League Baseball presented the National Center for Civil and Human Rights a check for $100,000 from the 2012 Civil Rights Game.
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