The Braves Report: Braves "Knock Out" Cubs

<U><B>Braves 9, Cubs 5</B></U> <BR> Mike Hampton pitched 7 innings and hit a triple and Vinny Castilla homered for the second straight game and drove in four runs as Atlanta beat Chicago 9-5 Friday. <BR> <BR> <B><U>Down on the farm:</B></U> <BR> Johnny Estrada strong in Richmond loss; Jurries and Thorman help Myrtle Beach and Greenville; Macay McBride wins again; Anthony Lerew dazzles in Rome.

Despite being outhit 13-9 on the day, Atlanta came through when it mattered most, as they defeat Mark Prior and the Cubs, 9-5.

More importantly than who won or lost today, was that nobody was seriously injured in a nasty infield collision in the 2nd inning. With Mark Prior at first base, Marcus Giles charged a grounder off the bat of Cubs 2B Mark Grudzielanek. Neither Giles or Prior saw one another, as the two met in a violent collision between first and second, sending them both to the ground in a heap.

Giles gives up 7 inches and 50 pounds to the much larger Prior, and clearly took the worst of the hit. Prior was able to walk off the field under his own power, and returned to pitch the next inning. Giles, still visibly dazed and shaken, was helped off the field, and replaced in the game by Mark DeRosa. Early reports on Giles were that he has suffered a minor concussion. Both ball clubs are fortunate that this accident wasn't any worse than it was for their two young All-Stars.

There were other collisions in this game as well, but they all came the traditional way - round bat hitting round ball. Vinny Castilla continued to dominate the Cubs in this series, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. He got the Braves started in the 2nd inning, launching a 2-run homer off of Prior, and followed that up with a 2-run single in the 4th, again off of Prior.

Castilla wasn't the only one doing the hitting, as Andruw Jones went 2-for-5 with 2 RBI, including a massive homer to left off of Prior in the 5th. Mike Hampton helped his own cause with a 2-run triple in the 8th, and Chipper Jones added a RBI single in the 9th.

Hampton had a Shane Reynolds-esque performance, giving up 5 earned runs (including 2 BOMBS by Sammy Sosa) on 11 hits in 7 1/3 innings, and still walked away with the victory. His record now sits at 5-5, while his ERA creeps toward the 5.00 mark, currently sitting at 4.85. Kevin Gryboski and Darren Holmes held the Cubs scoreless over the final 1 2/3 innings to preserve the victory.

Atlanta has now won their 8th straight, and run their record in daytime games to a league leading 22-5. The Braves and Cubs face off in another daytime contest on Saturday, as Horacio Ramirez (8-2) takes on Matt Clement (6-7) at 1:15 ET at Wrigley Field.

Down on the Farm

Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 7, Richmond Braves 4 -- DH Johnny Estrada was 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, but it was all for naught, as the Braves fall to the Red Wings, 7-4. Chris Fussell got the start, and the loss, to fall to 6-9 on the season. His line was a strange one: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 10 K. You would think that a guy who only gives up 3 hits and strikes out 10 in 5.2 IP has a good chance at winning, but somehow, he managed to give up 6 runs.

Carolina Mudcats (FLA) 4, Greenville Braves 6 -- The G-Braves only had 4 hits, but 2 Mudcats errors helped the cause, as Greenville takes the win, 6-4. 3B James Jurries was 1-for-2 with an RBI, and 1B Lee Evans scored twice on a 1-for-2 day. Dan Curtis tossed 5 innings in the start, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits, with 4 K's. Roman Colon (3-0) picked up the win, fanning 3 in two innings, and Billy Sylvester notched his 8th save despite issuing 3 walks in the 9th.

Salem Avalanche (HOU) 2, Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4 -- The Pelicans rode a big day by 1B Scott Thorman, as they beat the Avalanche, 4-2. Thorman had 2 doubles and also hit his 9th homer of the season, on a 3-for-4, 2 RBI day. LF Greg Miller added an RBI, going 2-for-4. Macay McBride put one in the win column, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits in 7 innings, improving his record to 6-5.

Rome Braves 0, Augusta Greenjackets (BOS) 1-- Rome found themselves caught up in a pitchers duel, as they fall to the Greenjackets, 1-0. Anthony Lerew did his part for the Braves, giving up 1 run on 7 hits, with 4 walks and 2 strikeouts, in 7 innings. He was on the hook for the loss, dropping his record to 5-5. Rome was held to 5 hits, two coming of the bat of 3B Wes Timmons.

Danville Braves 3, Martinsville Astros 7 -- Sean White (0-2) gave up 4 runs on 8 hits in 2.1 IP in the start, as Danville loses on the road, 7-3. CF Matt Esquivel hit his 3rd homer of the year, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.

Melbourne Marlins 7, Orlando Braves 0-- It was ugly all the way around for the Braves, as they get blanked at home by the Marlins, 7-0. Jojo Reyes got the start, allowing 2 runs - 1 earned - on 3 hits and 6 strikeouts in 4 IP, falling to 1-1 on the year. Asher Demme gave up 4 runs, only 1 was earned, on 4 hits in 3 innings, as the defense commits 2 errors in the game. The lone offensive bright spot was a 3-for-4 performance by 3B Cole Barthel.

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