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Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:19 PM EDT



  R H E  
Braves 3 5 1 WP: Sosa (9-2)
LP: Prior (9-5)
S: Farnsworth (1)  
Cubs 1 5 1
Furcal delivers against Prior, Cubs

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Had Derrek Lee handled a bad hop, Mark Prior would have escaped the seventh inning unscathed. Instead, the ace Chicago Cubs righthander was handed yet another loss by the Atlanta Braves .

Rafael Furcal hit a two-out, two-run single off Lee's glove in a three-run seventh inning as the Braves beat the Cubs, 3-1, in the rubber game of their midweek series.

Prior (9-5) had a one-hitter and a 1-0 lead until Jeff Francoeur led off the seventh with a bunt single. Ryan Langerhans attempted to sacrifice but Prior threw the ball away, allowing Francoeur to reach third. With one out, Langerhans advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Prior then struck out Brian McCann and got ahead on Furcal, 0-2.

Atlanta's shortstop then hit a hard grounder to first baseman Lee, who saw the ball take a bad hop off of his glove.

"I was probably a little tired," Prior said. "I got what I was looking for - I was looking for a ground ball, I got it, (but) unfortunately it took a bad hop."

Both runs scored. Furcal stole second and then scored on Marcus Giles ' single to left, opening a 3-1 advantage.

"This is what we expect out of ourselves," Giles said. "When Furcal and I get things going, more often then not we win games. It seems that when we have a decent game and do our jobs, we usually come out on top."

Prior, who had been 0-3 with a 7.88 ERA lifetime against the Braves, threw a whopping 131 pitches in 6 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run, four hits and four walks with seven strikeouts.

"You know, it's tough," Prior said. "Their guy threw a hell of a game. It was a dogfight for most of the game. We just didn't win, it's unfortunate."

Braves counterpart Jorge Sosa (9-2), starting once again in place of the injured Mike Hampton , yielded one run and four hits in six innings.

"I thought Sosa pitched his best game ever today," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He was awesome in the strike zone and kept the ball down. He got out of that first inning when he dropped the ball, and then first and third with no outs, Sosa worked out of the jam. That might have been the key to the ballgame."

Kyle Farnsworth got the final four outs for his seventh save.

In the first inning, Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez strained his left quadriceps trying to beat out a double play. He immediately left the contest.

"He was seen by Dr. Gryzlo (Cubs orthopedist Dr. Steven Gryzlo) over at Northwestern," Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal said. "We didn't see any significant defect in the muscle when he was here. That's why we sent him for a MRI to make sure that weren't any major muscle disruptions in the quad."

The MRI revealed a moderate to severe strain of Ramirez's left quadricep muscle. He will be re-evaluated Friday.

Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the third when Matt Lawton drew a two-out walk, stole second and scored on Todd Walker 's double.

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