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Braves recover to beat Cubs in 10 innings

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- First baseman Freddie Freeman has cultivated a reputation for being the Atlanta Braves' best clutch player. He proved it again Friday night at Turner Field.

Freeman capped his 13th multi-hit game of the year with a single that drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning and gave the Braves a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

"He comes up big in those situations," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He did a terrific job."

Freeman has emerged from an 8-for-53 stretch that dropped his batting average below .300; he is 8-for-15 over the last four games. He was 3-for-4 on Friday.

"It was a good overall win," Freeman said. "We had a great-pitched game and we actually scored more than they did."

After Braves closer Craig Kimbrel blew a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, the Braves came back to win it in the 10th. Right fielder Jason Heyward walked to lead off the 10th against left-handed reliever Wesley Wright. Heyward appeared to be picked off but wound up with his sixth stolen base when the throw went wide.

After Justin Upton was intentionally walked, Freeman drove in the winning run with a single up the middle that allowed Heyward to score with ease. Freeman has a team-leading 20 RBIs.

"It puts a smile on my face," Freeman said. "When they intentionally walk someone to get to you, it lights a fire under your butt."

Wright (0-1) had made 11 straight scoreless appearances and had never allowed a hit to either Heyward or Freeman.

"It happens sometimes," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "Today wasn't a day that it worked out for us."

Alex Wood (3-5) got the win in his first relief appearance of the season. The left-hander allowed one hit and struck out two in one scoreless inning.

The Cubs rallied for a run to tie the score at 2 in the top of the ninth against Kimbrel, who blew his second save in 11 opportunities.

Kimbrel gave up a leadoff single to left fielder Chris Coghlan, who reached second when Emilio Bonifacio's grounded out to the shortstop. Center fielder Ryan Kalish singled to left field to drive in Coghlan, who scored without a throw when Upton allowed the ball to carom off his leg.

Atlanta wasted another quality start from right-hander Julio Teheran, who has not won since April 16 despite allowing only five runs in his last 30 innings. He allowed one run and one hit in eight innings, striking out nine and walking two.

"He's been like that for a while," Gonzalez said. "He got his secondary pitches over and he competes. He goes after the hitters. Those are all good ingredients for success."

Right-hander Jason Hammel pitched well for the Cubs but also received insufficient run support. Hammel allowed two runs in seven innings. He allowed seven hits, all of them coming from the middle three batters in Atlanta's lineup. He struck out five and walked one.

"Hammel did a nice job again," Renteria said. "He ate up some innings and tried to save us in the bullpen."

The Cubs scored first on a long solo home run from third baseman Mike Olt, his seventh homer of the season, in the third. It was the third straight game in which Olt homered.

The Braves answered by scoring twice with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Freeman singled and went to third when catcher Evan Gattis singled. Freeman and Gattis, who moved to second on a wild pitch, both scored on a line single by third baseman Chris Johnson -- his sixth and seventh RBIs of the season.

"The middle of the order got us some good at-bats," Gonzalez said.

The Cubs had no luck against Teheran. Kalish walked in the first but was thrown out trying to steal second. Olt walked on four pitches with two outs in the eighth, ending a streak of 17 consecutive outs by Teheran, but the inning ended when catcher John Baker grounded into a fielder's choice.

NOTES: Despite rallying to send the game to extra innings, the Cubs are 0-18 when they trail entering the ninth inning. ... Atlanta will start RHP Aaron Harang on Sunday instead of LHP Alex Wood in the series finale against the Cubs. Wood will pitch out of the bullpen until his next scheduled start on May 17 in St. Louis. ... Harang celebrated his 35th birthday on Friday. ... A late afternoon storm caused the Turner Field ground crew to cover the infield around 6 p.m. The game start 18 minutes later than scheduled.

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