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Friday, July 11, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 5, Braves 4

By Doug Padilla



CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs started their final series before the all-star break Friday with a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

How it happened: Justin Ruggiano's single in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Arismendy Alcantara to give the Cubs the walk-of victory. Chris Coghlan's single in the sixth inning had tied it and Luis Valbuena's walk with the bases loaded put the Cubs ahead, but the Braves' Christian Betancourt tied it on an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning. Starter Jake Arrieta was solid yet again, giving up three runs on four hits over 7 2/3 innings. Arrietta even drove home the first Cubs run of the game on a suicide squeeze in the third inning. Hector Rondon stranded a runner at third base in the ninth inning for his

What it means: The Cubs look to be moving past the shock of the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade to the Oakland Athletics with a second consecutive victory after the six consecutive defeats that followed the deal. They definitely looked happy to be home after playing 11 games in 11 days on the just-concluded three-city road trip.

Outside the box: It was just the third time this season in 13 starts that Arrieta gave up at least three runs in a start. His season ERA remained a tidy 1.95, though. In fact, Arrieta has the second lowest ERA since May 3, which is when he made his season debut after starting the season on the disabled list. Only the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (1.81) has a lower ERA over that time, while the Mariners' Felix Hernandez is at 1.99.

Off beat: Junior Lake showed off his bat-breaking prowess again in the sixth inning. The Cubs had just loaded the bases with nobody out as Lake came to the plate with his team trailing by a run. After he struck out on a pitch well outside of the strike zone, Lake raised his right knee and cracked his bat in half just above the handle. He has pulled off the stunt multiple times this season, the most recent before Friday coming when the Cubs were in Boston on the just-concluded road trip.

Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Edwin Jackson (5-9, 5.05 ERA) to the mound Saturday in the middle game of the three-game series. The Braves will counter with left-hander Mike Minor (2-5, 4.54) in the 3:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.