Cubs
Braves
2 - 1 Final
  for this game

Hill pitches Cubs past Braves

Jun 8, 2007 - 3:07 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Rich Hill continued his mastery of the Atlanta Braves.

Hill tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in eight masterful innings and Alfonso Soriano scored and drove in a run to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in the opener of a four-game series on Thursday.

Pitching in his first full season, Hill (5-4) has emerged as one of the bright spots in an otherwise gloomy season for the Cubs and has been one of their more reliable starters. Coming into Thursday, he was second to free-agent acquisition Jason Marquis in team ERA with a 2.89 mark and logged just 8 2/3 innings less than staff leader Carlos Zambrano, in two fewer starts.

"Tonight was just a good night," Hill said. "I felt good from the start. You get a couple of games like this every year."

Hill has been effective against the Braves in his brief major league career, sporting a 2-0 career record against Atlanta in three major-league starts and allowing just two earned runs in 20 2/3 innings.

"He did a good job executing his pitches," catcher Michael Barrett said. "He made my job easy."

Ryan Dempster pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save of the season.

"That's why you have guys who come in and close the game," Hill said. "Ryan's been great at doing that."

Hill allowed one run and three hits and walked one with 11 strikeouts. He needed 108 pitches, 75 strikes, to dispatch of a struggling Atlanta lineup, which he went to a three-ball count against just two times.

The only blemish to Hill's night occurred in the fourth, when Andruw Jones smashed the lefthander's 1-0 offering the opposite way over the right field wall for his 10th homer of the season.

"I got a couple pitches to hit and put them where the guy's not," Jones said. "I got lucky."

Hill settled down to retire the next seven batters before issuing a free pass to Kelly Johnson in the third.

"We stayed with the breaking ball," Hill said. "That was the game plan from the beginning. The one mistake I made (to Andruw Jones), I threw him a two-seamer."

Atlanta garnished a modest threat in the fourth. Jones laced a one-out single and stole second base. But Hill induced Jeff Francoeur to fly out and struck out Matt Diaz to end the threat.

"He's a tough lefty," Jones said. "You can't figure him out. Today was the first two times I got two hits off of him. He's got that curveball that he can throw for strikes and balls. You have to be patient and lucky."

Soriano provided Hill all the run support he needed, leading off the game with a triple into the right-center field gap. He scored on a single by Felix Pie. One inning later, Soriano extended the Chicago lead to 2-0 when he drove in Ryan Theriot with a single.

Atlanta starter Chuck James (5-5) rebounded from a rough first two innings - where he needed 39 pitches - to hurl an efficient game. The Atlanta native allowed two runs, six hits and three walks while striking out two in seven innings.

"That's the way it goes sometimes," James said. "I went out there and pitched well and he pitched a little bit better. I'll take seven innings, two runs any day."

James retired 11 straight batters from the second through the sixth innings and allowed just one hit after the second.

But this one was all about Hill, who hurled a gem and made life easy for Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who was returning from his four-game suspension.

"We're playing a little bit smarter now," said Piniella, whose club has won four of five games since his well-publicized ejection on Saturday. "Winning cures everything."

Diaz had the other hit for the Braves, who have dropped six of seven at home.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0
    ATLANTA 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHN - RICH HILL, RYAN DEMPSTER (9TH) AND MICHAEL BARRETT
    ATL - CHUCK JAMES, TYLER YATES (8TH), RAFAEL SORIANO
    (9TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN

    HOME RUNS: CHN - NONE
    ATL - A

    Jun 7 9:49 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Cubs vs. BravesJun 7 9:37 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ANDRUW JONES (10) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF RICH HILL.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 2, ATLANTA 1
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.292, 7 HR, 43 RBI)

    Cubs vs. BravesJun 7 8:04 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ALFONSO SORIANO SCORED RYAN THERIOT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A SORIANO ON FIRST, C IZTURIS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 2
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: F PIE (.286, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Cubs vs. BravesJun 7 8:00 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 1 2 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: CHN - RICH HILL
    ATL - CHUCK JAMES

    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.290, 7 HR, 33 RBI)
    Y ESCOBAR (.375, 1 HR, 2 RBI)
    E RENTERIA (.325, 8 HR, 29 RBI)

    Cubs vs. BravesJun 7 7:45 PM