Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 1, Braves 0
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- The Cubs’ 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday gave them their second consecutive series victory and a 4-2 homestand.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Paul Maholm fired seven scoreless innings, and Bryan LaHair delivered a clutch RBI single in the seventh inning with two outs. LaHair has now reached base safely in 27 consecutive games, the first Cubs first baseman to do so since Derrek Lee reached base in 30 consecutive games during the 2009 season. James Russell delivered a scoreless eighth inning, while Rafael Dolis pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his third save.
WHAT IT MEANS: Maholm has not only turned it around after a slow start, but his victory Wednesday was his fourth consecutive, tying his career best, which was done most recently in 2008. That win streak began April 21, the day he snapped a personal seven-game winless streak that dated back to July of last season. His scoreless outing came after three consecutive starts in which he gave up just one run.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: Make that a 2.51 ERA for Cubs pitchers over the past 17 games since April 21. The pitchers entered Wednesday’s game with a 2.66 mark over that stretch, the lowest in baseball, ahead of the Rays (2.68), the Reds (2.84) and the Orioles (2.85). Cubs starting pitchers have posted a 2.52 ERA over that same stretch, with Maholm’s seven scoreless innings Wednesday.
OFF BEAT: A slow start out of the batter’s box and a hesitation at third base might have cost Starlin Castro an inside-the-park home run. Castro hit a ball down the right-field line that Jason Heyward failed to come up with after diving. Heading to third base, Castro didn’t seem to see right away that coach Pat Listach was waving him home. The relay throw from the outfield had Castro by at least 20 feet.
UP NEXT: After an off day Thursday, the Cubs will open a three-game series at Milwaukee on Friday with Matt Garza (2-1, 2.67 ERA) squaring off against the Brewers’ Randy Wolf (2-3, 6.68).