This is what it’s all about when your club already has 90 losses and has no shot at the postseason.
A bevy of hits in the bottom of the eighth inning for Chicago kept Atlanta from clinching the National League East title at Wrigley Field, as the Cubs topped the Braves, 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.
The best chance to tie the game up came in the bottom of the eighth for the Cubs, when Starlin Castro and pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy reached with one out. First baseman Anthony Rizzo squared off against left-hander Scott Downs, with the game on the line for Chicago.
Facing a full count, Rizzo laced a ball down the left field line for an RBI double, tying the game and sending the Cubbies Faithful into a roar at Wrigley Field. After facing just two batters (and allowing two hits), Downs was pulled in favor of David Carpenter.
Dioner Navarro stepped in with two runners in scoring position in a tied ballgame, and promptly lined a single to right field, putting the Cubs ahead, 2-1. A Nate Schierholtz sacrifice fly added much-needed insurance, making it a 3-1 game headed to the ninth.
The lone Atlanta run came in the top of the fourth when Evan Gattis singled to right field with two men on. As Schierholtz came in to pick the ball up, it glanced off his glove, allowing Freddie Freeman to score.
Wood, the Cubs lone All-Star representative this season, pitched masterfully, working out of the inning without allowing any more damage and leaving the bases loaded full of Braves.
He allowed just one unearned run on five hits over seven strong innings. He struck out four and walked seven in yet another sterling performance.
His counterpart, Kris Medlen, was no slouch either, tossing 7 1/3 innings, allowing just one run that came in to score against Braves’ relievers. He allowed six hits and struck out six.
One day after Kevin Gregg‘s outburst, Pedro Strop entered in the ninth inning looking to nail down the save and prevent the Braves from rallying. Suffice it to say the he did not disappoint, striking out all three batters he faced in order to end the game.