CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Cubs like to believe better days are ahead. Arismendy Alcantara is one youngster who gives them hope.
While the Atlanta Braves had their way in an 11-6 slugfest Saturday, Alcantara made his debut in center field and the 22-year-old doubled and singled to raise his batting average to .389 in four games. He also scored twice.
“Awesome,” Alcantara said of his first week in the big leagues. “It’s something special. … I just come to the field and try to do my job. I feel that I am ready.”
Cubs manager Rick Renteria thinks so, too.
“He looked the exactly the way he did in batting practice the other day,” Renteria said. “He’s obviously an athlete. He has a feel (for the game). His routes (to the ball) were good, at least on this day.”
The news wasn’t nearly as good for Edwin Jackson, who was hit hard and failed to improve his trade value once again.
In a performance that Jackson called “embarrassing” and “unacceptable,” the veteran was rocked for nine runs in 3-2 innings. He allowed four walks and seven hits, which included three home runs and a pair of doubles.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re pitching against - those balls can be hit,” said Jackson, who has two years and $22 million left on his contract. “I have to do a better job keeping the ball down and making adjustments, which I didn’t do today.”
Asked whether Jackson (5-10) could be moved to the bullpen, Renteria said, “That’s a good question.”
After some hesitation, he added, “I would say the answer is no.”
Chris Johnson homered twice and pitcher Mike Minor hit his second career home run for the Braves, while Johnson and Justin Upton each drove in four runs. Johnson and Minor homered and Upton hit a three-run double in the decisive fourth inning, when Atlanta scored six times to take a 9-3 lead.
“Today is one of those days we need all the offense we can get because the wind is blowing out - a typical Wrigley Field wind blowing out,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team won for the second time in seven games. “We never felt comfortable. The ball kept traveling.”
Minor (3-5) allowed six runs and 11 hits in six innings. He improved to 6-0 against the Cubs in his career.
Chris Coghlan hit two doubles and drove in three runs for the Cubs, who have lost seven of nine.
Upton and Justin Heyward had RBI singles for Atlanta in the ninth inning. David Carpenter pitched two innings for his third save.