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Atlanta (79-53) «3020101108111
Chi. Cubs (57-74)120000000374

McCann lifts Braves to series-clinching win vs. Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Brian McCann finally got his swing back where he likes it.

The Atlanta Braves are pretty happy with it, too.

McCann homered twice and Atlanta beat the Chicago Cubs 8-3 Thursday.

"I just haven't really swung the bat that great since coming off the DL. When you don't feel good and you face good pitching, it's an exposure," he said. "I've been working in the cages the last three or four days trying to find it, and today I made some strides.

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"I went down to the cage this morning. It was the first time I could go up to the plate and know I'm going to put together a good at-bat."

McCann hit a three-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the seventh for his eighth career multi-homer game.

"What more can you ask for? He puts us on his back and carries us some days," Braves starter Brandon Beachy said. "He's tremendous behind the plate at the same time. It's nice to have."

Michael Bourn had a career high-tying four hits, scored two runs, and drove in a run.

It was his first four-hit game since being acquired from the Astros on July 31.

"Man, what a pickup for us," McCann said. "He brings so much to the table. He plays a good center field and can fly. It's everything we've needed around here for the last four or five years."

Marlon Byrd homered and Tyler Colvin added a triple and a run for the Cubs, who committed four errors.

Beachy (7-2) won his fourth straight decision, recovering from a shaky start to pitch six innings. He allowed six hits, two earned runs and struck out eight.

"I don't know if rusty is the right word..just a little erratic the first couple innings," Beachy said. "I settled in and got a better feel for my pitches."

Matt Garza (6-10) allowed six runs -- three earned -- and eight hits over five innings. He struck out six.

"The stuff they were hitting, they didn't hit me hard," he said. "Two hits, the hit to [Dan] Uggla and the home run. Everything else was jam shots or off the end of the bat.

"It was a good pitch to McCann, a changeup down, he went down and got it."

The Braves took three of four from the Cubs and have won 16 of their last 21 games. Atlanta won its NL-high 38th road game.

Garza was coming off one of his best starts of the season in a 3-0 win over St. Louis last Saturday.

"I've seen him before struggle and he finds a way to settle down keep us in it," said Cubs manager Mike Quade. "Just wasn't his day."

Garza dropped a flip from first baseman Carlos Pena, putting Martin Prado on after Bourn led off the game with a single. McCann followed with a homer that put Atlanta up 3-0 before making an out.

The Cubs cut into the lead on Darwin Barney's groundout in the bottom half and tied it in the second on Byrd's homer and Soto's dribbler after Colvin tripled.

The Braves scored twice in the third on a bases-loaded walk by Uggla and Freddie Freeman's RBI single and added on in the fifth on Jason Heyward's sacrifice fly and McCann's a solo shot.

Bourn added a run in the eighth with his fourth single of the game, giving him his sixth career four-hit game. Bourn's 160 hits are second in the NL to Castro's 167.

The Cubs have committed 108 errors this season, most in the majors. Four of Atlanta's runs were unearned.

Notes

  • Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano was given a day off on Thursday after he was hit in the right forearm by a pitch during Wednesday's game. Manager Mike Quade said Soriano was available for pinch-hitting duty and is expected to return to the lineup on Friday.
  • Braves RHP Tommy Hanson left the team and returned to Atlanta to have his ailing shoulder re-evaluated by team doctors. Hanson has been on the disabled list since Aug. 7 because of right rotator cuff tendinitis.
  • Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves are "closely monitoring" Hurricane Irene and the effect it might have on this weekend's series in New York against the Mets.
  • The Braves open a three-game series at New York on Friday, pitting RHP Tim Hudson against Mets lefty Chris Capuano. Hudson has won eight of his last nine decisions.
  • The Cubs will make the short trip north to face the first-place Brewers in Milwaukee this weekend, with Chicago RHP Rodrigo Lopez squaring off against LHP Randy Wolf in Friday's opener.
  • Chicago's Aramis Ramirez doubled in the eighth, his 700th career extra-base hit, and extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Brian McCann makes a second trip around the bases after homering in the first and seventh innings for the Braves. (Getty Images)
Brian McCann makes a second trip around the bases after homering in the first and seventh innings for the Braves. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

M. Bourn
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF5241000 .304
Martin Prado, 3B4210102 .271
Brian McCann, C4224103 .292
Dan Uggla, 2B4111120 .231
Freddie Freeman, 1B4021010 .293
Alex Gonzalez, SS5000016 .228
Jason Heyward, RF3001013 .220
Jose Constanza, LF4100004 .354
Brandon Beachy, P3000020 .057
    Arodys Vizcaino, P0000000 .000
   a- Brooks Conrad, PH1010000 .242
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
    Cristhian Martinez, P0000000 .333
Totals37811837  
a-singled for Vizcaino in the 8th
Batting
2B - Martin Prado (24, Garza)
HR - Brian McCann 2 (22, Garza, Grabow)
SF - Jason Heyward (1)
RBI - Michael Bourn (43), Brian McCann 4 (62), Dan Uggla (67), Freddie Freeman (64), Jason Heyward (36)
CS - Michael Bourn (12, 2nd base by Garza/Soto), Martin Prado (8, 2nd base by Grabow/Soto)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Alex Gonzalez (11, Missed catch of throw)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brandon Beachy (W,7-2) 6632081 3.31
Arodys Vizcaino 1000000 1.86
Eric O'Flaherty 1100020 1.23
Cristhian Martinez 1000010 3.20
HBP - Johnson (by Cristhian Martinez)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Beachy 97-65, Arodys Vizcaino 9-5, Eric O'Flaherty 15-13, Cristhian Martinez 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Beachy 6-4, Eric O'Flaherty 1-0, Cristhian Martinez 2-0
Batters Faced - Brandon Beachy 24, Arodys Vizcaino 3, Eric O'Flaherty 4, Cristhian Martinez 4
Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starlin Castro, SS4110000 .306
Darwin Barney, 2B4001010 .290
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010010 .311
Carlos Pena, 1B4020021 .226
Reed Johnson, LF3010020 .347
Marlon Byrd, CF4111004 .292
Tyler Colvin, RF4110012 .141
Geovany Soto, C4001021 .234
Matt Garza, P1000010 .063
   a- Tony Campana, PH1000010 .270
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
   b- Blake DeWitt, PH1000000 .259
    James Russell, P0000000 .125
    Jeff Samardzija, P0000000 .000
Totals34373011  
a-struck out for Garza in the 5th
b-flied out for Grabow in the 7th
Batting
2B - Aramis Ramirez (31, O'Flaherty)
3B - Tyler Colvin (2, Beachy)
HR - Marlon Byrd (7, Beachy)
RBI - Darwin Barney (37), Marlon Byrd (24), Geovany Soto (40)
SB - Starlin Castro (17, 3rd base off Beachy/McCann), Carlos Pena (1, 2nd base off Beachy/McCann)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Castro-Pena
E - Darwin Barney (10, Misplayed grounder), Starlin Castro (22, Misplayed grounder), Matt Garza (7, Missed catch of throw), Reed Johnson (2, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Garza (L,6-10) 5863261 3.68
John Grabow 2111111 4.69
James Russell 1210000 4.18
Jeff Samardzija 1000000 3.21
HBP - Freeman (by Jeff Samardzija)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Garza 98-67, John Grabow 29-20, James Russell 18-14, Jeff Samardzija 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Garza 5-5, John Grabow 3-1, James Russell 1-3, Jeff Samardzija 1-1
Batters Faced - Matt Garza 26, John Grabow 7, James Russell 6, Jeff Samardzija 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36136
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Jeff Nelson, Third Base - D.J. Reyburn