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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, July 5th (All times Eastern)

Chicago Cubs (31-50) at Atlanta Braves (42-39), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Matt Garza (4-6, 4.01) Atlanta - Mike Minor (4-6, 6.20)

(Sports Network) - Young lefty Mike Minor tries to remain unbeaten for his career against the Atlanta Braves tonight, when the Chicago Cubs visit them for the finale of a four-game holiday week series at Turner Field.

The seventh overall pick of the 2009 draft, Minor debuted in 2010 and has since appeared in 39 games for the Braves, making 38 starts and posting a 5.34 earned run average across 209 innings.

He's met the Cubs three times thus far and has won all three decisions while allowing nine earned runs and 22 hits in 16 2/3 innings, allowing an opposition batting average of .306.

The most recent meeting came last season on Aug. 23, when Minor went five innings and gave up four runs on six hits in Atlanta's 5-4 triumph at Wrigley Field.

The 24-year-old was a 7-5 winner over the Washington Nationals in his most recent start this season, allowing four runs in five innings in Atlanta on June 30.

He's 2-2 in six home starts this year.

In Wednesday's third game, Paul Maholm tossed six solid innings and the Cubs topped the Braves, 5-1.

Maholm (6-6) pitched his second straight strong outing, allowing one run on eight hits and a walk while striking out five. The 30-year-old left-hander had pitched 8 1/3 scoreless against Houston in his last start.

Bryan LaHair, Jeff Baker and Anthony Rizzo hit solo home runs for the Cubs, who have won seven of nine. For Rizzo, it was his third home run in 31 at-bats since being recalled on June 26.

"We're starting to come together a little bit," LaHair said. "We're still working hard and grinding at-bats out and those kind of things. Good things happen when you're doing it."

"They had good pitching when we faced them the first time," Braves outfielder Michael Bourn said. "We know they got pretty good pitching, man. They put some runs on the board today. They've been playing pretty good as of late. We just have to continue to work and continue to battle."

Randall Delgado (4-9) lost his fourth straight decision for the Braves after allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in six-plus innings. He struck out five.

Bourn picked up three hits, including a double and triple, but Atlanta lost for the fifth time in its last seven games.

The Cubs will try to extend the Atlanta misery with righty Matt Garza, who's never beaten the Braves in two career starts.

The 28-year-old has won two of his last three starts since mid-June after beginning the season at 2-5.

He allowed three runs in six innings of a 12-3 defeat of the crosstown Chicago White Sox on June 18, and downed Houston, 3-2, with 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball on June 30.

In between those starts, Garza took a tough-luck 5-1 loss at Arizona on June 24 after giving up just three runs on five hits in seven innings.

In the two starts against Atlanta, he's allowed five earned runs on 14 hits in 10 innings.

Chicago won two of three games from the Braves in a May series at Wrigley Field. Atlanta won four of seven from the Cubs last season. Chicago last won the season series in 2008.

07/05 10:38:03 ET