Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 14, 2011 – ESPN.

I blame Jerome Holtzman. The whole concept of the “save” has taken over bullpen usage so that managers push all their best relievers back in the game, so the worst relievers pitch the middle innings, even if it’s a game situation. So when Brandon Beachy tired and had let a run in with a runner on base in the sixth, Fredi Gonzalez turned to his worst (remaining) reliever, Scott Linebrink. And when Linebrink allowed three straight singles, allowing what was once a 4-0 lead go to 4-3 with the tying run on third and go-ahead run on first, he went to rookie Arodys Vizcaino. It is doubtful that he ever considered using Jonny Venters. Vizcaino actually pitched well, striking out three — but threw two wild pitches or passed balls (Brian McCann, in his first game off the DL, probably should have blocked both) which allowed the tying run to score.

The Braves had built the lead with the help of some bad Cubs defense. Dan Uggla — who went hitless today, so there’s that to add to the misery of this lousy game — hit a sac fly to score Michael Bourn in the first after Bourn went to third on a fielder’s choice/error. More sloppy defense helped lead to two more runs, by Alex Gonzalez and Jose Constanza, in the second. In the fourth, Constanza walked, stole two bases, and scored on a Bourn single. Beachy was cruising… but then he got to the sixth. He throws a lot of pitches, and he tends to tire suddenly. He should get over it in time. I don’t know how long it will take to get over not getting this win he deserved.

The Braves retook the lead in the bottom of the inning thanks again to sloppy defense. Jason Heyward hit a bloop single, stole second, then the pitcher threw away a swinging bunt by AAG to score Heyward. Unfortunately, Gonzalez couldn’t get to second on the error, and he wound up stranded.

Fredi doesn’t get any blame for bringing in Eric O’Flaherty in the seventh; the two-run homer O’Flaherty gave up is all his. The Braves then went meekly for two and two thirds innings before Bourn walked and stole second with two out in the ninth. But Martin Prado fouled out on a 3-1 pitch to end it.

Oh, and Jonny Venters struck out the side in the eighth. The Cubs struck out eighteen times (once reaching against Vizcaino on the K/WP) and won.