CHICAGO -- Even the windiest days at Wrigley Field hadn't produced a power display like this.
Marcus Giles hit a three-run homer and Adam LaRoche homered twice for the Braves. Atlanta also received solo shots from Andruw Jones, Ryan Langerhans and Brayan Pena to complete the three-game sweep of the Cubs, who have lost 21 of their last 25 games, including six in a row.
"Crazy day at Wrigley, that's the only way I can describe it," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, who saw his team blow a four-run lead in the in the ninth and then come back to win it thanks to Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez dropping a routine pop-up in the 11th.
The eight home runs by the Braves broke a club record set on Aug. 3, 1967, against the Cubs in Milwaukee. Chicago also set a club record for giving up the most home runs in one game. The Cubs broke the old record of seven, most recently set on Sept. 9, 2000 by Houston.
Pena set the club's franchise record in the seventh inning. He hit his first career homer leading off the inning against Cubs reliever Roberto Novoa making it 12-8.
Cox wasn't surprised by Atlanta's display of power.
"Whoever expects to hit eight home runs. You would take the bet that there would be eight home runs on a day like this because you don't have to hit the ball extremely hard to do it," said Cox.
After blowing a four-run lead in the ninth, the Braves scored in the 11th when Langerhans hit a routine pop-fly that Ramirez couldn't catch. Langerhans reached second on the error. After a groundout advanced him to third Giles followed with a single.
"It definitely was a crazy game. A lot of things happened, a lot of runs put up, a lot of home runs. Back and forth. It was a bizarre game but the best part about it is we came out on top," said Giles.
Scott Eyre (0-1) took the loss for the Cubs.
Ramirez was camped under the ball but lost concentration at the last second and had the ball bounce off his head.
"I just missed it. I thought I already had it and I took my eyes off of it. I have no excuses, I just missed the ball, it could happen to anybody," said Ramirez.
Oscar Villarreal (7-0) pitched a scoreless 10th inning and Ken Ray pitched the 11th for his second save in three chances.
Cubs catcher Michael Barrett tried to put a positive spin on the game after fighting back to tie the game in the ninth.
"It is frustrating but at the same time, I would like to stay focused on the positive things from today's game, there is a lot of things to be upset about, but to be honest so many weird things have happened, I'm kind of tired of focusing on the negative stuff," said Barrett.
The Braves bullpen couldn't hold a 12-8 lead in the ninth, Todd Walker led off with a single to left off Lance Cormier. One out later, Jacque Jones singled to right, chasing Cormier. Ronny Cedeno followed with a pinch-hit double off of Chris Reitsma, cutting the lead to 12-9. Neifi Perez followed with a two-run triple off the wall in right. Freddie Bynum tied it at 12-12 with a slow bouncer that Reitsma picked up and threw home to Pena, who wasn't able to put the tag on Perez.
It was Reitsma's fourth blown save of the season.
Braves starter John Smoltz gave up eight runs and 10 hits in six innings.
"Everything that could happen happened in this game," said Smoltz. I'm still trying to figure out how I gave up (eight) runs."
Chicago pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu, making his first major league start was overmatched by the Braves lineup. He gave up four home runs to the first 10 batters he faced and was chased after working only 1 1/3 innings.
"It wasn't an easy day to pitch out there, the wind was blowing out really hard and its tough for a young guy to pitch in conditions like that because they're just learning, even John Smoltz gave up eight runs," Barrett said.
|Edgar Renteria and Marcus Giles combine for six hits, three homers and seven RBI at the top the order. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Marcus Giles, 2B||6||1||2||4||1||0||3||.242|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||6||2||4||3||1||2||2||.325|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||3||0||0||0||2||2||1||.300|
|a- Brian Jordan, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.224|
|Lance Cormier, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chris Reitsma, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Oscar Villarreal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kenny Ray, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Andruw Jones, CF||6||1||2||1||0||3||5||.273|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||6||2||2||2||0||3||1||.245|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||6||1||2||0||0||1||1||.251|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF||6||2||2||2||0||3||1||.246|
|Todd Pratt, C||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.196|
|Brayan Pena, C||5||2||2||1||0||0||2||.444|
|John Smoltz, P||2||1||1||0||0||1||2||.143|
|b- Pete Orr, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.208|
|Chad Paronto, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Macay McBride, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Wilson Betemit, PH-3B||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.274|
|a-struck out for Jones in the 9th|
|b-struck out for Smoltz in the 7th|
|c-struck out for McBride in the 9th|
|2B - Jeff Francoeur 2 (7, Rusch, Ohman), John Smoltz (2, Ryu)|
|HR - Marcus Giles (2, Ryu), Edgar Renteria 2 (5, Ryu, Rusch), Andruw Jones (12, Rusch), Adam LaRoche 2 (8, Ryu, Novoa), Ryan Langerhans (4, Ryu), Brayan Pena (1, Novoa)|
|SH - John Smoltz (7)|
|RBI - Marcus Giles 4 (14), Edgar Renteria 3 (21), Andruw Jones (47), Adam LaRoche 2 (29), Ryan Langerhans 2 (16), Brayan Pena (1)|
|2-OUT RBI - Marcus Giles (8), Edgar Renteria (9)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1|
|DP - Giles-Renteria-LaRoche, LaRoche-Renteria|
|E - Adam LaRoche (3, misplayed grounder), Edgar Renteria (7, throwing error), John Smoltz (1, missed catch)|
|Chris Reitsma (BS,4)||0.2||3||2||2||0||0||0||6.55|
|Oscar Villarreal (W,7-0)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.03|
|Kenny Ray (S,2)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.44|
|HBP - Barrett (by John Smoltz)|
|Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 91-62, Chad Paronto 13-5, Macay McBride 12-8, Lance Cormier 14-10, Chris Reitsma 15-11, Oscar Villarreal 6-5, Kenny Ray 17-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 10-6, Macay McBride 1-2, Chris Reitsma 2-1, Oscar Villarreal 1-2, Kenny Ray 1-1|
|Batters Faced - John Smoltz 31, Chad Paronto 4, Macay McBride 4, Lance Cormier 3, Chris Reitsma 6, Oscar Villarreal 3, Kenny Ray 3|
|Juan Pierre, CF||6||2||2||1||0||0||1||.234|
|Tony Womack, 2B||6||1||4||1||0||0||0||.360|
|Michael Barrett, C||4||1||1||2||0||0||3||.293|
|Todd Walker, 1B||4||2||1||0||2||0||2||.298|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||6||0||1||0||0||0||6||.238|
|Jacque Jones, RF||5||2||2||2||1||0||0||.281|
|Scott Eyre, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Murton, LF||2||0||1||0||1||0||0||.280|
|Roberto Novoa, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- John Mabry, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.177|
|Will Ohman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|b- Ronny Cedeno, PH||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||.283|
|Bob Howry, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jerry Hairston Jr., RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.213|
|Neifi Perez, SS||6||2||2||4||0||0||2||.204|
|Jae-Kuk Ryu, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.000|
|Glendon Rusch, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.250|
|Freddie Bynum, LF||4||1||1||1||0||1||0||.227|
|a-flied out for Novoa in the 7th|
|b-doubled for Ohman in the 9th|
|2B - Juan Pierre (8, Smoltz), Ronny Cedeno (7, Reitsma)|
|3B - Neifi Perez (1, Reitsma)|
|SF - Michael Barrett (2)|
|RBI - Juan Pierre (3), Tony Womack (4), Michael Barrett 2 (24), Jacque Jones 2 (22), Ronny Cedeno (14), Neifi Perez 4 (11), Freddie Bynum (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jacque Jones 2 (8), Neifi Perez 2 (2)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Womack-Perez-Walker|
|E - Aramis Ramirez (2, misplayed grounder), Todd Walker (2, throwing error)|
|Scott Eyre (L,0-1)||1||1||1||0||0||1||0||1.40|
|WP - Roberto Novoa (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jae-Kuk Ryu 28-20, Glendon Rusch 83-52, Roberto Novoa 42-24, Will Ohman 28-19, Bob Howry 17-12, Scott Eyre 19-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jae-Kuk Ryu 1-3, Glendon Rusch 3-1, Will Ohman 2-0, Bob Howry 1-1, Scott Eyre 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Jae-Kuk Ryu 11, Glendon Rusch 20, Roberto Novoa 9, Will Ohman 8, Bob Howry 3, Scott Eyre 5|
|Attendance - 41698|
|Game Time - 3:47|
|Temperature - 87|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Crawford, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi|