Maybe Jeff Samardzija's mullet scared Atlanta's hitters.
For the 11th time in as many weeks, the Braves dropped a Monday game, losing to the worst team in baseball. The Braves never seemed to put up much of a fight, going quietly against a pitcher whose ERA was over 10 during the month of June.
The game started as a pitcher's duel, with Jeff Samardzija and Tommy Hanson putting up matching zeroes through the first three innings. The Cubs struck first in the 4th, as ballyhooed recent call up Anthony Rizzo launched Hanson's first pitch of the inning deep to left center to give the Cubbies a 1-0 lead.
Samardzija would blank the Bravos until the sixth, when Michael Bourn roped a two out double down the left field line. Martin Prado, who had struck out in each of his first two at-bats, hung in for a tough at-bat before driving Bourn home with a sharp grounder to left. Prado roared towards the dugout, clearly pumped up, but the team would falter almost immediately after.
As has been the case so often of late, Atlanta immediately choked after tying the game. Back to back singles by the Cubs led off the 7th inning and surprisingly didn't bring the hook for Hanson. Hanson walked the next batter, Darwin Barney, to load the bases. A 3 run double by Luis Valbuena (a lifetime .226 hitter) made it 4-1 and effectively ended the Braves hopes.
Atlanta managed only 3 hits over the final 3 innings, none of which came to fruition (including a leadoff double by Chipper Jones in the 7th).
Atlanta drops to 41-38 on the year. The Braves take on the Cubs again tomorrow night at 7:10 PM EST. Chris Volstad goes against Jair Jurrjens in a matchup of pitchers that were demoted to the minors during this season, and both pitchers will bring an ERA over 6 into the game. Take your gloves to the ballfield tomorrow.