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Santana remains unbeaten, Braves blank Cubs 2-0

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 10, 2014 at 10:47 pm •  Published: May 10, 2014
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ATLANTA (AP) — Ervin Santana almost was knocked out by a rain delay.

It was a bigger scare than he ever faced from the Cubs.

Santana pitched five-hit ball for seven innings to remain unbeaten, Ryan Doumit snapped a scoreless tie with a pinch-hit double in the seventh and the Atlanta Braves beat Chicago 2-0 on Saturday night.

Santana (4-0) overcame that delay of 1 hour, 7 minutes in the third inning and outlasted Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who had his long winless streak continue.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would have pulled Santana if the delay lasted only a few minutes longer.

"We were about five to 10 minutes from shutting him down," Gonzalez said. "It was that long.

"You don't want guys sitting around for an hour and a half, an hour and 20 minutes. We were that close, really."

Santana walked one and struck out seven.

"Santana was terrific — better than terrific, really," Gonzalez said.

Samardzija was just as strong. He allowed only two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in six innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.45, second in the NL, but he is still without a win this season.

Samardzija's winless streak was extended to 14 starts. His last victory came on Aug. 24, 2013, at San Diego. He said the long drought wasn't wearing on him.

"No. I understand the situation, I understand how things go," he said. "Baseball is a funny sport. It's just one of those things where you learn from it. It usually comes around in the end and it all evens out."

Braves left fielder Justin Upton left the game in the sixth with a lower back muscle bruise after being hit by a pitch from Samardzija. He is day to day.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 10th save.

Kimbrel, who blew a 2-1 lead in the ninth in the Braves' 3-2 win in 10 innings on Friday night, was back in form. He walked Starlin Castro with two outs before striking out Luis Valbuena to end the game.

The Braves scored two runs in the seventh off right-hander Brian Schlitter (2-1). Following singles by Chris Johnson and Andrelton Simmons, Doumit pinch hit for Santana and drove in Johnson with his double. Simmons scored on Tyler Pastornicky's suicide squeeze bunt.

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