LaRoche, Davies lead Braves to shutout over Cubs
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- In front of one of the largest crowds in team history, youngsters
off to a good start.
LaRoche homered twice for the second time in his career and Davies allowed four hits in 6 2/3 innings as the Braves successfully opened a seven-game homestand with a 4-0 victory over the
Playing in front of 52,274 fans - the largest crowd in the history of Turner Field and the second-most in club history behind Henry Aaron's memorable passing of
with his 715th homer on April 8, 1974 - LaRoche swung an impressive bat.
"LaRoche, I think, has to be the star of the game somehow," Braves manager
said. "He did a pretty good job."
ripped an RBI single up the middle in the first inning, LaRoche crushed a 1-0 delivery from
(1-2) over the right field fence for a 3-0 lead.
"Wood has got a good fastball," LaRoche said. "I figured I was going to get one."
"The hit by Jones was up the middle and then the homer," Wood said. "After that, I made better pitches. I had better location of the fastball after the first inning."
LaRoche, who hit .353 (6-for-17) with a homer and four RBI on the Braves' recently completed seven-game road trip, added a solo shot, his 11th of the season, in the eighth.
"I felt so good the last couple weeks," LaRoche said. "It's nice to start hitting."
The offense proved to be more than enough for the rookie Davies (4-2), who recorded his fourth scoreless outing in 10 starts this season. The righthander, who walked four and struck out three, successfully worked out of trouble for most of the game.
Davies, who has scattered two earned runs over his last two starts, credited his recent success to All-Star pitcher
, who helped the rookie make an adjustment to his landing leg.
"(I'm coming down) stronger on my landing leg," Davies said. "I've been a little weak pitching the ball. That's what I've been working on."
After stranding two runners in the fourth, Davies gave up a walk and a single with one out in the sixth before getting
to pop up and
to ground out.
"(I was) throwing offspeed pitches," Davies said. "If you can throw offspeed pitches for strikes, you're going to get out of jams. I think that helped a lot."
In the eighth, the Cubs threatened again but
made a running miscue, rounding second base too far after a single by Hollandsworth, and was tagged out to end the frame.
"We need to pitch better," Burnitz said. "We need to hit better. We need to play defense better. We need to do it all better."
Chicago stranded nine runners and was shut out on the Fourth of July for the first time since a 1960 contest with the
San Francisco Giants
Wood pitched well after a rough first inning, yielding three runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked three.
"I made a few mistakes and they hurt me," said Wood, who lost in his second start since coming off a two-month stint on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder on June 29. "I think I threw the ball pretty well after the first inning."
The Cubs dropped their fifth straight game to fall one game under .500 at 40-41 for the first time since May 28.