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Atlanta Braves blank Chicago Cubs 3-0, allowing only four hits

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Jarred Kelenic hit a solo homer, rookie AJ Smith-Shawver worked 4 1/3 three-hit innings in his first start of the season and the Atlanta Braves topped the Chicago Cubs 3-0 on Thursday.

The Braves have won two straight games and three of four after a four-game skid.

Smith-Shawver, one of Atlanta's top pitching prospects, combined with five relievers for a four-hitter. The 21-year-old right-hander, recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett for the game, struck out four and walked two.

Dylan Lee (1-1) followed Smith-Shawver and struck out one in one inning for the win. Raisel Iglesias pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save.

Ozzie Albies and Marcell Ozuna drove in runs in the eighth off Kyle Hendricks, who made just the second regular-season relief appearance of his 11-season career. Albies singled and Ozuna had a sac fly off the 34-year-old right-hander who was moved to the bullpen this week after going 0-4 with a 10.57 ERA in seven starts.

Ozuna went 0 for 2 with a walk and his 15-game hitting streak was halted.

Ben Brown tossed four scoreless, one-hit innings in his fifth start and 12th appearance on a bullpen day for the Cubs. The 6-foot-6 right-hander struck out six and walked two.

Hayden Wesneski (2-3), the first of three Chicago relievers, allowed Kelenic's third homer of the season and took the loss.

Smith-Shawver was relieved by Lee after 87 pitches. The rookie made five starts in three call-ups last season. The Braves had optioned right-hander Daysbel Hernandez on Wednesday to make room on the roster for him.

Kelenic went deep to lead off the fifth and put Atlanta ahead 1-0. Kelenic turned on a Wesneski's 3-1 pitch and his third homer reached the right-field bleachers despite traveling into a strong win off Lake Michigan.

Hendricks allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in the eighth as the Braves made it 3-0. He yielded two more singles in a scoreless ninth.

The wind and bright, cloudless sky at Wrigley challenged the Braves' fielders.

Second baseman Ozzie Albies lost Seiya Suzukzi's pop in the third and it fell for a single. All three outfielders had difficulty tracking the ball, leading to several awkward catches.


Braves: No starter was named for Friday night's series opener at Pittsburgh. LHP Baily Falter (2-2, 3.53 ERA) pitches for the Pirates.

Cubs: LHP Shota Imanaga (5-0, 0.84 ERA) faces RHP Miles Mikolas (3-5, 5.77) at St. Louis on Friday night. Imanaga's ERA is the lowest through any pitcher's first nine starts since baseball started tracking earned run average in 1913.



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