Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Ruggiano's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Chicago Cubs over the Atlanta Braves, 5-4, in the opener of a three-game series.
After scoring the tying run in the top of the ninth, the Braves sent Jordan Walden (0-1) to the mound in the bottom half. The right-hander recorded two quick outs before giving up a single to Arismendy Alcantara, who stole second and crossed the plate on Ruggiano's hit to left.
"It's stuff you used to do as a kid playing wiffle ball in the back yard and you make believe the situation and now it's coming true," Ruggiano said. "You live for those kind of things."
Hector Rondon (2-3) got the win despite giving up one run on two hits in the ninth. Chicago starter Jake Arrieta allowed three runs on four hits with six strikeouts and three walks over 7 2/3 innings.
Ruggiano ended with two RBI for the Cubs, who have won two in a row since a six-game skid. Luis Valbuena, Chris Coghlan and Arrieta each drove in a run.
Freddie Freeman knocked in two runs for the Braves, who have lost five of six. Justin Upton and Christian Bethancourt added one RBI apiece.
Atlanta starter Alex Wood gave up four runs on five hits while striking out six and walking three over 5 1/3 innings.
Trailing 4-3, Atlanta left a runner on third in the seventh and stranded runners on first and second in the eighth.
But the Braves tied the game in the ninth. Rondon gave up a leadoff double to Jason Heyward, Chris Johnson lined out and Tommy LaStella grounded out before Bethancourt's RBI single to center.
Earlier, the Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the third. Coghlan led off with a double to right-center field and stole third. After Mike Olt walked, Coghlan crossed the plate on Arrieta's sacrifice bunt. Olt then scored on Ruggiano's two-out single to left-center field.
The Braves tied things up in the fourth. Jordan Schafer walked, stole second, only moved up to third on Andrelton Simmons' double to right and raced home on Freeman's groundout. Upton followed with an RBI groundout to make it 2-2.
"Schafer had a great day. He stole three bags, he got on base, played nice defense," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Atlanta went in front in the top of the sixth. Wood reached on a bunt single, moved to second on a sac bunt and scored on Freeman's double to center.
Chicago responded with two runs in the bottom half. Anthony Rizzo doubled, Starlin Castro singled and Welington Castillo was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. After Junior Lake struck out swinging, Coghlan hit an RBI single to right. Shae Simmons took over for Wood and immediately walked pinch- hitter Valbuena to force in a run. Arrieta struck out swinging and Alcantara lined out to keep it 4-3 Chicago.