MLB: Braves 5, Cubs 4
By Andrew Seligman
CHICAGO — Craig Kimbrel tied a major league rookie record with his 40th save, Jason Heyward hit his first career grand slam, and the Atlanta Braves hung on to win their sixth straight, beating the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 40th save in 45 opportunities, tying a mark set by Texas’ Neftali Feliz last season. He ran his scoreless streak to 31 2-3 innings as Atlanta won for the eighth time in nine games.
Aramis Ramirez singled with two outs in the ninth for the Cubs, giving him a career-high five hits while extending his hitting streak to 12 games. He advanced to second when Heyward bobbled the ball in right. Tyler Colvin struck out to end the game.
Chipper Jones had three hits. So did Heyward, none bigger than his shot in the fourth. He connected after Alex Gonzalez drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk off Casey Coleman (2-6), making it 5-0, but Mike Minor (4-2) nearly gave it all away.
Alfonso Soriano led off a four-run fifth with his 21st homer.
Ramirez drove a two-run double with two outs in the fifth and came around when Gonzalez bounced the throw to first after fielding Jeff Baker’s grounder to short, making it 5-4. Carlos Pena hit an inning-ending fly ball to the wall in center, barely preserving the lead.
Things got really tense in the seventh when the Cubs loaded the bases, but Chicago came away empty-handed. Arodys Vizcaino came in and retired Marlon Byrd on an inning-ending grounder to second on the first pitch.
Minor won his third straight start and beat the Cubs for the second time in that span, giving up four runs and six hits over five innings.
Coleman also went five innings, allowing five runs and five hits in his second start for the banished Carlos Zambrano.
He ran into trouble with two outs in the fourth when Dan Uggla singled on a slow roller toward the left side that Ramirez tried to barehand. Jones lined a base hit to right before Eric Hinske walked to load the bases. Coleman’s 3-2 pitch to Gonzalez just missed low and away, driving in the first run, and Heyward made it a five-run game when he knocked his 13th homer to the basket above the wall in left-center. The grand slam was the third for Atlanta this season.
All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro was back in the lineup for Chicago after sitting out a game because he wasn’t paying attention in the field. He appeared to be engaged this time, making a diving stop in the eighth on Gonzalez’s grounder to start a double play, and also had a single.
Notes: Coming off one of his better starts, Derek Lowe is back on the mound as the Braves continue the series with the Cubs.
The veteran right-hander threw five-plus scoreless innings in a win against Arizona. Randy Wells starts for Chicago. … OF Jose Constanza was held out of the starting lineup after rolling his right ankle while beating out an infield hit in Monday’s game. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez hopes he returns to the lineup on Wednesday. … Braves RHP Tommy Hanson did not throw a scheduled bullpen session on Tuesday because of soreness related to the right rotator cuff tendinitis that’s had him on the disabled list since Aug. 7. The soreness arose after Hanson threw nine pitches during an abbreviated throwing session on Monday. The Braves had hoped Hanson would be able to make a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday, but those plans have been scuttled.