When Rick Ankiel beats you with a two-out, two-strike, bases-clearing triple in the ninth inning, that can mean only one thing: You are the Chicago Cubs.
The Braves blew a chance to take a first inning lead when Infante doubled and was for once moved to third on a groundout by Heyward, only for Prado to hit a groundout to the third baseman, freezing Infante, and Derrek Lee just missing a homer in his first Braves AB. The Cubs then took the lead in the second with one of those really annoying rallies, getting three consecutive singles to right field with two out by the bottom of the order. That’s the sort of thing that’s going to happen sometimes, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying.
Jair Jurrjens was not as sharp as he’s been since returning from the DL, but he wasn’t that bad, going seven innings and allowing but three runs on nine hits. He had a lead, for a while. Omar hit a solo homer in the third (after a bizarre play in which Bobby had Jurrjens swing away — into a double play — after Ankiel reached on a leadoff single. With two out in the fourth, Gonzalez split the gap with a ground-rule double, scoring Prado.
But Aramis Ramirez, a Braves-killer for forever now, hit a solo homer in the fourth to tie it, then hit a one-out double in the sixth to score Marlon Byrd, making it 3-2. The Braves were meanwhile in a particularly long stretch of Hibernation Mode. After AAG’s double, they didn’t get another hit until the ninth, and from the fifth to eight innings had only one baserunner, on a walk by Heyward.
After Jurrjens left the game, Moylan — who seems to have righted the ship — needed just eight pitches to get through the eighth. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol came in to pitch the ninth, and he had what I can only term an Episode. He walked Prado leading off, and after getting Lee to strike out walked McCann and AAG. He was all over the place. But he got Melky to swing at three borderline pitches, then got ahead of Ankiel 1-2. At 2-2, he hung a pitch, and Ankiel pulled it into the right field corner, scoring everybody. Billy Wagner came in and after getting ahead 0-2 himself allowed a leadoff single. He then struck out the next two (tying Jesse Orosco for a fairly meaningless record of most career strikeouts by a lefthanded reliever) and got a popup to end it.
Lee had a pretty rough day in his first Braves game, going 0-4. Hey, they can’t all be Fred McGriff, and at least he looked ambulatory.