It may have been Lou Piniella’s last game as manager of the Cubs, but the Braves stole the show as two hitters had a multi-homer day and Mike Minor set a franchise record, giving the Braves a 16-5 win and series victory.
The score was back and forth for the first few innings. Omar Infante led off the game with a home run but Marlon Byrd tied it back in the home half with an RBI single. Jason Heyward hit a solo homer in the third but Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run shot in the home half for a one-run Cubs lead. A three-run home run in the fourth by Infante put the Braves ahead for good, however.
The Braves piled on four in the seventh, five in the eighth, and two in the ninth. Alex Gonzalez singled in two and another mental lapse by Starlin Castro caused a third run to score on the play. Heyward singled in a run in the eighth, Derrek Lee doubled in three for his first hit as a Brave, and Melky Cabrera drove one in. Heyward added a two-run home run in the ninth.
Heyward was on base six times, going 4-4 with two homers and four RBIs, and walking twice. It was his first career multi-homer game. Infante also had four hits, two homers, and four RBIs. Lee picked up a double, walk, and three RBIs. Gonzalez drove in two, Melky drove in one, and Brian McCann drove in one. Martin Prado added two singles. The Braves racked up 13 hits and seven walks, including seven hits and four walks off Cubs starter Randy Wells, who gave up three of the home runs.
Minor was equally impressive, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings. He gave up two doubles and a home run. The impressive part was 12 strikeouts, which is a franchise record for a rookie pitcher, and he walked just one. Minor threw a ton of strikes and got 23 swinging strikes, throwing 71 strikes out of 104 pitches. We might just have something good here.
Jonny Venters pitched a scoreless seventh. Peter Moylan gave up two runs in the eighth but shouldn’t have pitched. Cristhian Martinez pitched a scoreless ninth.
Something pretty crazy I just picked up on is the 16-5 score is the exact score of Opening Day between the Braves and Cubs. It ties the season high runs total in a game for the Braves. Who also had a big day in that game? Yeah, Heyward.
The Braves travel to Colorado for three against the Rockies while the Phillies host the Astros. The Phillies are on their way to winning today, meaning the Braves will enter this week with the same 2.5 game lead.