Garza gives up 3 homers, Cubs fall to Braves, 7-3
ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Garza's marathon first inning and the steamy conditions led to one short outing for the right-hander.
Garza gave up a pair of two-run homers in the first and the Chicago Cubs went on to a 7-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman and Juan Francisco connected for Atlanta, which salvaged a split of the four-game series.
Garza (4-7), who could be one of the top starters on the market ahead of this month's trade deadline, allowed five runs and five hits in four innings. He struck out six and walked three while throwing 94 pitches.
Geovany Soto homered for Chicago.
Francisco capped the Braves' long first inning with a 16-pitch at-bat, fouling off pitch after pitch until he finally bounced out to first base.
"A couple pitches hit out of the ballpark and then the 16-pitch at-bat to Francisco kind of killed the whole outing, really," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
"It was too bad. Once again, it looked like he had pretty good stuff, but the foul balls and everything just killed him."
Garza threw 44 pitches in the first, thanks to Francisco's at-bat.
"I don't think he ever recovered from it," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
The gametime temperature was 97 degrees. Garza struck out Michael Bourn in the first, but the inning quickly unraveled from there.
Martin Prado hit a one-out single before Heyward drove a 1-2 pitch over the wall in right for his 14th homer. Freeman then singled to right and McCann sent another 1-2 offering over the wall in right for his 10th of the season.
Francisco made Garza throw 12 pitches before taking a walk in the fourth.
"Two at-bats. We kind of got tired of him," Sveum said of Francisco. "Move on to the next guy."
Garza downplayed the effect Francisco's long at-bats had on his short night.
"That's just an at-bat," Garza said. "That's all it is. He battled, I battled. I won the first one, he won the second one. That's all it is."
Freeman had a solo shot off Garza in the third and Francisco went deep in the eighth against Manny Corpas.
Mike Minor (5-6) held the Cubs without a hit until the fifth and gave up three runs, two earned, and three hits in 6 1-3 innings overall.
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