ATLANTA -- Andruw Jones hit his major league-leading 27th
homer and prized rookie Jeff Francoeur added a three-run shot in a
six-run eighth inning as the Atlanta Braves beat Chicago 9-4 on
Thursday night to sweep a doubleheader and extend the Cubs' worst
losing streak in three years.
Chicago's eight-game slide is its worst since dropping nine in a
row from May 8-18, 2002.
The Cubs blew a 4-3 lead when Jones' two-run shot chased
reliever Roberto Novoa (2-2). Francoeur, an outfielder considered
the top prospect in the Atlanta organization, was called up from
Double-A Mississippi earlier in the day and he homered off Glendon
Rusch for his first career hit.
Aramis Ramirez put the Cubs ahead 1-0 in the fourth inning of
the second game with an RBI single that ended the team's streak of
19 consecutive scoreless innings. He added his 19th homer in the
sixth, a two-run shot that made it 4-3.
The Braves had taken a 3-2 lead in the fifth on Rafael Furcal's
sixth homer, a two-run shot.
Jerome Williams started for the Cubs and allowed eight hits and
three runs in six innings.
John Smoltz, who sought his first win as a starter over the Cubs
since April 5, 1997, went seven innings for the seventh time in
eight starts. He allowed six hits and four runs. He entered with a
15-4 career record, a 2.83 ERA and eight saves against Chicago.
The Cubs, playing their second straight game without All-Star
first baseman Derrek Lee, had been outscored 15-1 in the first
three games of the series.
Lee leads the majors with a .377 average, but he felt a twinge
in his left shoulder as he struck out Tuesday. He is listed as
Francoeur, an Atlanta native and a first-round draft pick
in 2002, received a standing ovation in the third as he made his
first career at-bat. He grounded out to third. ... The Cubs lost
seven straight from April 30-May 7. ... Braves starters Tim Hudson
and Mike Hampton said they will pitch another simulated game
Saturday instead of making a rehab start in Class A.