Braves Digest: 4/10

<U><B>Atlanta Braves 5, Chicago Cubs 2</B></U> <BR> Julio Franco drove in three runs with a double, as the Atlanta Braves rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs, 5-2, at Turner Field. <BR> <B><U>Minor Leagues</B></U><BR> <B>Chuck Smith</B> pitches five shutout innings in Richmond loss; <B>Matt Merricks</B> holds Wilmington hitless for five innings; <B>Dan Meyer</B> day-to-day with left ankle injury.

With the score tied at two in the eighth inning, Julio Franco had a bases clearing double to give the Braves a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field in Atlanta.

The game was a pitchers dual until the eighth inning. Cubs Manager Dusty Baker pulled Sergio Mitre in favor of former Brave Andy Pratt. The left-hander had control problems and put the Braves in position to take the lead.

Franco battled Pratt's replacement, Kyle Farnsworth, in an impressive 13-pitch, seven minute at bat before doubling off the top of the right field fence.

Jaret Wright started and pitched well for Atlanta. He went six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits, four walks, and four strikeouts. The Braves bullpen also pitched well. C.J. Nitkowski pitched and inning and a third of perfect baseball. Antonio Alfonseca finished the 8th inning without any damage and was credited with the win. Alfonseca has yet to give up an earned run this season. Finally, Kevin Gryboski came in and picked up his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

Offensively, Marcus Giles had two more hits. He is now batting .500 on the season. Chipper Jones improved his average to .421 with two more hits.

The Braves are now 3-2 on the season. They close out the three game, weekend series with the Cubs on Sunday at 1:00. Russ Ortiz (0-1 11.57 ERA) will go for Atlanta against Kerry Wood (1-0 7.20 ERA) for the Cubs.

Game Notes - LaRoche left the game in the fourth inning after fouling a pitch off his right foot...The Braves had just six hits...Hollandsworth also homered in the series opener on Friday. Atlanta beat the Cubs on Friday in 15 innings in the rematch of last year's division series that went to five games.

Minor League Recaps

INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS 3, RICHMOND BRAVES 2 - The Richmond Braves were defeated by Indianapolis 3-2 in 11 innings Saturday at the Diamond.

Richmond scored single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to take a 2-0 lead into the final three frames. Damon Hollins and Ryan Jackson had run scoring singles.

Chuck Smith started and did great for Richmond going five scoreless innings allowing two hits, two walks, and three strikeouts. But then Indianapolis scored two runs in the seventh inning off of Roman Colon to tie the game. The game would remain tied until the tenth when Indianapolis scored a solo run off of Sean Fesh (0-1).

Charles Thomas had the only multi-hit night for Richmond as he went 2-5.

Richmond falls to 1-2 on the season. Trey Hodges pitches Sunday against Indianapolis.

WILMINGTON BLUE ROCKS 4, MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 3 - The Wilmington Blue Rocks scored two runs in the 7th inning and the go ahead run in the 8th inning to beat Myrtle Beach 4-3 Saturday night at Coastal Federal Field.

Wilmington scored a run in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Then Myrtle Beach did the same in the bottom of the first when Gregor Blanco walked and moved over to third before Scott Thorman sacrificed him home with a fly out.

Myrtle Beach got solo runs in the third and fourth innings. Thorman once again drove home Blanco with a sac fly.

Matt Merricks started for Myrtle Beach and went five innings, allowing one run and he did not allow a hit.

Right-hander Matt Wright came in for the Pelicans and gave up the go-ahead runs. Wright took the loss and is now 0-1 on the season.

Myrtle Beach is now 1-2 on the season. They close out the four game series with Wilmington Sunday night at 6:00 with Kyle Davies on the mound.

CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS 7, GREENVILLE BRAVES 2 - Atlanta Braves reliever Armando Almanza did not fair well in his rehab start with the Greenville Braves Saturday taking the loss in a 7-2 win for Chattanooga.

Almanza lasted just one inning before reaching his pitch count. The lefty allowed two runs on three hits.

Dan Meyer replaced Almanza and had to leave the game after being spiked in the ankle on a play at home plate. Meyer is listed as day-to-day.

Greenville managed just three hits on the night with both of the runs coming on a home run by Kelly Johnson. Eli Marrero, on rehab assignment, was 1-4.

Charlie Manning, acquired by the Reds from the Yankees in the Bret Boone deal last summer, allowed only one run on two hits in six and two thirds innings. Manning struck out nine Greenville batters.

The Braves made three errors in the game and now have six on the season.

The winless G-Braves will close out their series in Chattanooga Sunday at 2:15. Steve Smyth will make his Braves organization debut as he pitches against Seth Etherton.

ROME BRAVES 7, AUGUSTA GREENJACKETS 4 - The Rome Braves beat the Augusta Green Jackets 7-4 Saturday night to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Rome scored three runs in the first inning and then Steve Doetsch hit a home run in the third inning for the Braves fourth run.

The Braves scored three runs in the eighth inning including a two run home run by first baseman Carlos Guzman.

Jo Jo Reyes allowed three runs in the fourth inning. He also gave up six hits in his four innings of work.

Sean White pitched two scoreless innings to pick up his first victory of the season.

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