ATLANTA(AP) The Braves went much of the night without a hit.
They still got to celebrate.
tied the game with a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth and
won it with a 12th-inning single, leading the
from five runs down to an improbable 6-5 victory over the
on Tuesday night.
''These are character-builders,'' Jones said. ''We were dead in the water.''
Instead, it's the Cubs who are flailing. They slipped back to .500 with their 11th loss in 15 games and wasted a brilliant
. The rookie didn't allow a hit until Jones singled with two outs in the seventh, but the bullpen failed to bring home his
first big league win.
''That's baseball,'' Wells said. ''Stuff will happen. You can't sulk.''
led off the game with a homer and
's shot in the eighth gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead.
They couldn't hold it.
The Braves scored five runs on just two hits to send it to extra innings. Both were big ones: Garrett Anderson's leadoff homer
in the eighth and Francoeur's drive into the left-field seats off closer
with the Cubs one out from the win.
Jones capped the comeback in the 12th with a single to left that brought home
, setting off a raucous celebration near second base.
''The longer and longer you go with a guy having a no-no against you, the tighter the grip goes around the bat,'' Jones said.
''Once we got the hit out of the way, we started pecking away and we got a couple breaks.''
Filling in for suspended
, Wells certainly pitched well enough to finally break through. He faced the minimum - the only baserunner was erased on a
double play - until Jones' clean single to left over the glove of third baseman
Five innings later, Jones hit one to nearly the same spot off
But the biggest blow belonged to the struggling Francoeur, a former phenom now being mentioned in trade reports. He drove
a 2-1 pitch into the seats in left-center for just his fourth homer of the season.
''I worked for about two hours on the off day (Monday), hitting, trying to shorten my swing a little bit,'' said Francoeur,
who got a helmet-pounding reception from his teammates in the dugout. ''It paid off.''
He got to bat even though Gregg had retired two hitters and Anderson whiffed on a pitch in the dirt. When the ball got by
for a wild pitch, rolling all the way to the backstop, Anderson raced to first.
Anderson started the comeback with his second homer in as many games, after failing to go deep in his first 31 games for Atlanta.
The Braves scored twice more in the inning without a hit.
Lee dropped a routine throw to first that allowed
to reach. That was it for Wells, who allowed two hits in seven-plus innings.
took over and walked Francoeur, hit
to force in a run. Escobar followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
''With a five-run lead in the eighth inning, it shouldn't get away,'' Cubs manager
said. ''We gave that one to them, with a nice little ribbon.''
(1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings.
Soriano led off with a homer for the 54th time in his career. Soriano broke a tie with
in that category and now trails only Hall of Famer
, who had 81 leadoff homers.
Wells, who had started four games since being recalled from the minors in early May, wasn't even supposed to go in the opener
of a three-game series in Atlanta. It was Zambrano's spot, but he's serving a six-game suspension for his tirade over a disputed
call in his last start against Pittsburgh.
Not that Wells was a bad option with a 1.80 ERA through the first four starts of his career. A lack of support - the Cubs
managed only six runs in those games - left him without a win.
This time, the bullpen couldn't hold it.
Notes: Cubs RHP
, on the DL with an ailing back, threw a side session beforehand and is scheduled to throw another Thursday. ... RHP
, who left his last start with the Cubs because of a blister, threw on the side and should be ready to go Friday at Cincinnati.
... Anderson has a 10-game hitting streak. ... Chicago OF
left in the fourth after straining his right calf running out a grounder. He is day to day.