Bryan LaHair is more clutch than the furthest left pedal of my old 2001 Honda Civic.
The only run scored in a 1-0 shutout Cubs win over the Atlanta Braves was driven in off Lahair’s bat in glorious fashion. He took a 2 out situation in the 7th with a RISP, got a solid hit off Tim Hudson and cashed the run. Turns out it was all the Cubs needed to take the series over the division leading Braves.
Paul Maholm was nothing short of outstanding to earn is fourth consecutive win, having thrown a pile of off-speed stuff with a nice mix in order to get the win. He went 7 strong, walking 3, whiffing 3 and only gave up 3 hits. For the more casual baseball fans out there, it means Maholm was in cruise control with the top down and a pretty girl in the passenger seat. Nice work Paul.
Both Ian Stewart and Maholm grounded into double plays, but that’s not unusual for a game that featured two pitchers having strong outings and tight defense.
Speaking of tight defense, Darwin Barney caught a line drive off Dan Uggla‘s bat in the 6th which would have surely scored the runner at third, thus giving the Braves the lead. Why is this noteworthy? The Cubs were playing an infield shift and Barney was in the perfect position and still made the tough grab. Despite his relative “struggles” at the plate, he’s still solid on second base. Good call by Dale Sveum to play the shift knowing Uggla’s tendency to rip everything to left field. Batting is only half the game after all….
Tony Campana was 0 for 2 today with a SAC and is still batting a very solid .320. Not bad for a guy who prides himself on speed.
James Russell pitched the 8th and kept things in control. He walked the leadoff man and gave up a hit, but settled in getting a K and producing a couple of ground balls. Nice recovery. He gets credited with the hold. Note: His ERA is 0.73 in the middle relief position in the bullpen. Hasn’t always been pretty, but he’s getting results.
Rafael Dolis was brought in for the save in 9 and did what any good closer should do: kept the ball low and got the ground outs.
A quick game that was highlighted by excellent defense and great pitching. Very entertaining to watch and the Cubs will look for more success coming up on Firday against the Milwaukee Brewers.