The Braves Report: Horacio Falters Against Cubs

<B><U>Cubs 7, Braves 3</B></U> <BR> Sammy Sosa hit another homerun to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 7-3 victory Saturday, breaking the Braves 8 game win streak. <BR> <BR> <B><U>Down on the farm:</B></U> <BR> Johnny Estrada continues to pummel AAA pitching with another 3 hit night (6 hits and 5 RBI over his last two games); Matt Belisle ripped in Greenville; Zach Miner blows away Frederick; Keith Eichas continues to roll in Orlando.

One big inning by the Cubs was all it took to end the eight game winning streak, and Horacio Ramirez's 3 month win streak, as the Braves fall, 7-3, at Wrigley Field.

Chicago starter Matt Clement gave up just one run to the Braves in the first seven innings, a Rafael Furcal solo homer in the 3rd, before allowing 2 meaningless runs in the 8th. When Clement isn't walking people he is tough to handle, as witnessed by his 7 K's against 0 walks today.

Horacio Ramirez didn't fare as well for the Braves, lasting only 3.2 innings - his shortest outing of the year. Sammy Sosa helped usher Ramirez out in the 4th, leading off the inning with a home run. The Cubs followed Sosa in that inning with a single, three doubles, a triple, and a walk, putting them ahead, 7-1. Ramirez takes the loss for the first time since April 11th, a span of 13 starts, to fall to 8-3 on the year.

Vinny Castilla kept up his hot hitting against the Cubs, going 2-for-3 today, making him 8-for-11 this series. Unfortunately, no one was getting on base ahead of him today. The Braves did add 2 runs in the 8th on a Julio Franco ground ball RBI, and a Rafael Furcal RBI single. Furcal had the only other multi-hit game for Atlanta, going 2-for-4 with a homer and 2 RBI.

Atlanta tries to avoid the series split tomorrow, as Shane Reynolds (6-4) takes on Carlos Zambrano (6-7) in the ESPN Sunday Night game, set for 8:05 ET. Both of these pitchers records show how you can't just rely on W-L record to determine how well a pitcher has performed during the season, as Zambrano's ERA sits at a solid 3.19, while Reynolds sports an abysmal 5.83.

Down on the farm

Richmond Braves 7, Charlotte Knights (CHW) 6 -- C Johnny Estrada was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI, and 3B Wilson Betemit hit his 3rd home run of the year, as the Braves beat the Knights, 7-6. Betemit was 1-for-4 on the day, with 2 runs and a steal. Sam McConnell picked up the win, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in 5.1 innings, improving his record to 3-1. Joe Dawley picked up his 14th save, giving up a run and 4 hits in 1.1 innings of work.

Carolina Mudcats (FLA) 10, Greenville Braves 2 -- After a solid outing last time out, Matt Belisle was rocked by the Mudcats, as the G-Braves fall, 10-2. Belisle lasted only 3 innings, giving up 8 runs - 7 earned - on 10 hits, with 5 walks and a strikeout. The loss drops him to 5-8. The Braves managed only 4 hits against Mudcats pitching, and committed 3 errors on the night. RF Jason Fitzgerald and RF Cory Aldridge each had a hit and an RBI.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans 2, Frederick Keys (BAL) 0 -- Zach Miner was the anti-Belisle, tossing 7 shutout innings, as the Pelicans defeat the Keys, 2-0. Miner allowed 4 hits, with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts, improving his record to 5-6. The Keys helped out the cause by committing 3 errors. 3B Isaac Iorg was credited with the lone Pelicans RBI on a sac fly in the 5th.

Hickory Crawdads (PIT) 1, Rome Braves 0 -- Ryan Ewin was solid in the loss, as the Braves drop a pitching duel to the Crawdads, 1-0. Ewin (2-1) gave up 1 run on 5 hits in six innings of work, striking out 4 and walking only one. The Braves bats were no help with only 4 hits on the night, with CF Jeff Francoeur and C Brian McCann each going 1-for-4.

Danville Braves -- Game was suspended.

Orlando Braves 8, Melbourne Marlins 2 -- 1B Keith Eichas is on a serious roll, launching 2 homers on a 4-for-5, 3 run, 4 RBI day, as the Braves get all over the Marlins, 8-2. 2B Brian Stoecklein added 2 RBI on a 3-for-3 performance. Paul Bacot got the start, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 3 K's in 4 innings of work. Matt Harrison (1-1) picked up the win, tossing 3 shutout innings.

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