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Cubs blank Braves for first win
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ATLANTA - Randy Wells pitched six scoreless innings, Carlos Marmol stranded two baserunners in the ninth inning and the Chicago Cubs beat the Atlanta Braves 2-0 on Thursday night.
Rookie Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd homered for Chicago, which had only four hits.
Wells, who combined with four relievers on the eight-hit shutout, outpitched Tommy Hanson in a matchup of top 2009 rookies. The Cubs avoided a three-game sweep.
Atlanta's Chipper Jones left the game after the third inning with a sore right side and is listed as day to day.
John Grabow, who gave up Jones' two-run homer in the eighth inning of the Braves' 3-2 win on Wednesday night, was called on in the eighth again. He walked Brian McCann, the only batter he faced, to put runners on first and second.
Marmol ended the inning when Troy Glaus grounded out to third base.
He gave up a leadoff single to Yunel Escobar in the ninth. Rookie Jason Heyward, who was 0 for 4, struck out on three pitches before Marmol walked Nate McLouth.
Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske hit a fly ball to deep center field which allowed Escobar to advance to third base, but Marmol struck out Melky Cabrera to end the game.
Wells (1-0) allowed six hits with two walks and stranded three runners on third base.
Wells left runners on first and third in the second inning and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third when Troy Glaus hit into a double play to end the inning. Escobar hit into a double play with runners on first and third to end the sixth inning.
Hanson (0-1), third in the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year voting, gave up four hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings. Wells was sixth.
Colvin hit his first major league homer in the second inning. Colvin, who hit .468 in spring training to win a roster spot, gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead with the shot into the right field seats. He started for Alfonso Soriano in left field.
Byrd's fourth-inning homer increased the lead to 2-0.
Jones showed apparent discomfort when taking a swing in the third inning. He remained in the game, drew a walk from Wells and was forced out at third later in the inning.
Omar Infante replaced Jones to start the fourth inning.
Martin Prado had three hits for Atlanta.
Braves manager Bobby Cox used the same lineup for the third straight game. Outfielder Matt Diaz, expected to share time in left field, may start at San Francisco on Friday against left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.
Colvin, second baseman Jeff Baker, who was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, and catcher Koyie Hill, who was 1 for 3, had their first starts.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he'll continue to find playing time in the outfield for Colvin and Xavier Nady. Piniella said he plans to start Nady at Cincinnati on Friday.