The Atlanta Braves are evidently not a fan of Mondays.
Jeff Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs shut down the Braves in a 4-1 victory on Monday night in the series opener in Atlanta. Samardzija certainly did not look like the same pitcher who had posted a 12.27 ERA over his last four starts as he dazzled Braves hitters and lowered the Braves' record to a dismal 0-11 on Mondays.
Samardzija, coming off a string of four starts where he gave up 25 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings, was dominant against the Braves. He allowed only one earned run on four hits and one walk while striking out 11 batters in seven innings.
“He was good today," Chipper Jones said. "Real good. Good slider, good split, located his fastball, stayed on top of the hitters. You know, you’ve got to go out there and respect 95-96 [mph fastballs], and he was getting his secondary pitches where he wants them — it’s going to be a long day for anybody.”
Braves starter Tommy Hanson matched Samardzija through six innings, but he unraveled in the seventh inning. He gave up two singles and a walk before Luis Valbuena hit a bases clearing double to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead. He also allowed a home run by Anthony Rizzo in the fourth inning. Hanson ended the night giving up four earned runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out eight batters in seven innings.
“It’s frustrating," Hanson said. "It’s not like I went out there and got beat up. I felt like I had my good stuff and it just came down to that one inning. Those are the frustrating games, and the ones that are tough to swallow.”
The Braves scored their only run on an RBI single by Martin Prado following Michael Bourn's two-out double. Bourn collected two of the Braves' six hits to push his average to .304 while also stealing his 23rd base of the season. Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla, and Jones each recorded a base hit to complete the offensive output.
“Just the inability to put all three facets together at the same time," Jones said of the Braves' struggles. "And do it consistently, every…single…day. And for whatever reason, it’s just not happening. We get a good pitching performance, we don’t swing the bats. We get a good pitching performance, we don’t play defense. We swing the bats, we don’t pitch. It’s frustrating. But if the guys in this clubhouse want to get to where we want to go, we better start playing better.”
Andrelton Simmons recorded his first major league stolen base in the third inning.
The Braves will send Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07 ERA) to the mound against Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA) as the Braves attempt to get back on the winning side at 7:10 PM EDT on Tuesday night.
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