Atlanta was riding a six-game winning streak before dropping a 3-2 decision on Wednesday, as Derek Lowe was done in by a three-run second inning. Lowe suffered the loss for giving up three runs - two earned - and four hits in seven innings.
"You look at his line and it might have been one of his best starts. He was really, really good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Lowe.
Chipper Jones and Alex Gonzalez both homered for Atlanta, which had a six-game winning streak come to an end and remained 6 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the top spot in the National League East. The Braves still lead the NL Wild Card by 8 1/2 games over San Francisco.
Brandon Beachy will try to extend his unbeaten streak when he takes the mound for Atlanta Thursday and he's 3-0 with a 2.48 earned run average in his last six starts. He threw six innings of one-run ball in an 8-1 win over Arizona on Saturday and struck out seven batters to improve to 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 19 starts.
Beachy, a right-hander, did not record a decision against the Cubs in a 6-5 loss on August 14, when he gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings with eight K's. It was his first appearance in this series. Beachy is 3-1 in nine starts away from Turner Field this season.
Braves All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel needs one more save to set the Major League record for saves by a rookie. He has 40 saves, while Neftali Feliz set the rookie mark last season with 40 saves for the Texas Rangers.
Chicago ended a three-game losing streak and won for the third time in its last eight tries.
Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer during the three-run second inning and Randy Wells threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball for the win. Carlos Marmol struck out two in the ninth for his 30th save. Marmol had 38 last year and is just the second Cubs closer to post consecutive 30-save seasons. Lee Smith had four in a row from 1984-87.
"I had a pretty good chanegup and was able to keep guys off balance," Wells said. "This win feels pretty good."
Aramis Ramirez went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. He is batting .560 with four homers and 14 runs batted in over that stretch.
Matt Garza draws the start for Chicago today and he's 2-1 in his last four appearances. Garza tossed seven shutout innings and struck out eight batters in a 3-0 win over St. Louis on Saturday to run his 2011 mark to 6-9 in 24 starts to go along with a 3.62 ERA. Garza is 4-4 in 13 starts at Wrigley Field this season and did not record a decision against the Braves in that win on August 14.
The right-hander, in his first appearance versus the Braves, allowed four runs, two of which were earned, through five innings.
Chicago won two of three meetings in that series with Atlanta from Aug. 12-14.