July 5, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Martin Prado (14) celebrates beating the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field. The Braves beat the Cubs 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
In the final game of the Braves series with the Cubs, Atlanta jumped on Cubs starter Matt Garza, battering him early and often via the long ball. Mike Minor posted a solid start, making Atlanta's lead hold up as he won his 5th game of the year.
After Minor worked a 1-2-3 top of the first with 2 strikeouts, Atlanta jumped on Garza. Martin Prado reached with a one-out single, bringing Jason Heyward to the plate. Heyward took 2 quick strikes, but launched a high 1-2 pitch just over the right field scoreboard for a two-run homer. Freddie Freeman followed JHey's homer with a single, and Brian McCann followed Freeman with a (hopefully slump-busting) two-run jack.
Freddie Freeman would get in on the home run party in the third inning as well, drilling a 1-1 pitch to deep center and making it a 5-0 Braves lead.
The Cubs finally broke through against Minor in the 5th, when Geovany Soto drilled a 3-1 pitch over the left field fence. Prior to the homer, Minor had only allowed one baserunner, a 2nd inning walk to Bryan LaHair.
Atlanta picked up their 6th run in the 5th, when Martin Prado and Heyward led off with back to back singles, and Prado scored on a sacrifice fly from Brian McCann.
Minor came out in the 7th inning, having faced 2 more than the minimum through 6 innings. He seemed tired and it showed, as he allowed a single to Anthony Rizzo and walked Alfonso Soriano on a full count. He struck out LaHair, but was then lifted for Kris Medlen, who allowed the runs to score on a Reed Johnson single and Heyward throwing error. Minor's final line was 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts over 6.1 innings pitched, which really belies how sharply he pitched.
Juan Francisco hit the first pitch he saw from Manny Corpas in the 8th inning over the center field wall for his 6th homer of the year. Francisco's homer closed the scoring at 7-3. Francisco also set a record in the first inning, seeing 16 pitches in at-bat from Matt Garza. His 16 broke this year's record for most pitches seen in a single at-bat.
Craig Kimbrel closed the 9th in his usual fashion, whiffing two Cubs.