Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Jeff Samardzija had a career-high 11 strikeouts and Luis Valbuena stroked the tie-breaking three-run double in the seventh inning, lifting the Chicago Cubs past the Atlanta Braves, 4-1, in the opener of a four-game set.
Samardzija (6-7), who allowed nine runs in his last start against the Mets and had a 12.27 ERA in his four previous starts coming into Monday's game, tossed seven dominant innings in which he allowed one run on four hits and a walk.
Anthony Rizzo, coming off a weekend which included two game-winning hits, crushed his second home run of the season as the Cubs won their season-best fourth straight game.
Tommy Hanson (9-5) matched Samardzija pitch-for-pitch early, but the right- hander gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out eight and had a five-start unbeaten stretch broken. He's 0-4 lifetime against the Cubs.
The Sports Network