Never anything easy with these guys, is there?
Scoreless through three, the action began with two out in the top of the fourth. Dan Uggla had an infield single, Chipper Jones singled to make it first and third, and it looked like the Cubs pitched around Eric Hinske to load the bases. But then, somehow, they walked Alex Gonzalez too, and it was 1-0. Jason Heyward, hitting eighth, came up and hit a ball to left-center that in most parks probably would have been a double, but in Wrigley on this night was a grand slam homer. 5-0, cruising time.
Of course not. Mike Minor was superb through four innings, but then lost the plot. He gave up a leadoff homer in the fifth (ending a 30-inning scoreless streak by Braves pitching). He “hit” (the wind from his pitch slightly ruffled the pants of) the next hitter, and Darwin Barney, who is quickly becoming a Braves bane of almost Victorinian stature, singled in a pinch-hit. Minor got a long flyout and a strikeout to almost end it, but Aramis Ramirez (who was 5-5 on the night) doubled to score them both, then scored himself when Hinske dropped a 6-3 putout, making it 5-4.
In the sixth, the Braves couldn’t get a two-out hit with the bases loaded. Cristhian Martinez started the sixth, giving up a one-out double but pitching around it. He got the first guy in the seventh, too, then gave up consecutive weak singles. George Sherrill came in and hit the first guy he faced before getting a strikeout, then Arodys Vizcaino — quickly becoming the righthanded bullpen force the Braves needed — got out of the jam with one pitch. He didn’t have much trouble in the eighth, either. Craig Kimbrel got a strikeout and a groundout, then allowed a single by Ramirez, with Heyward (who in his defense was 3-4 on the night) committing an error to get him to second. So Kimbrel got another strikeout to end it.