- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - Jonny Gomes wasn’t surprised Jon Lester was on top of his game against Atlanta.

Gomes, Lester’s former teammate in Boston and Oakland, has seen plenty of similarly dominant performances from the left-hander.

Thanks to an unusual scoring change, the Braves had no hits off Lester until the eighth inning of their 4-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.

“I’ve seen that a whole lot, to tell you the honest truth, from him,” said Gomes, who was 0 for 3 off Lester. “That outing’s not that uncommon out of him.”

A.J. Pierzynski, Lester’s batterymate in Boston for the first half of the 2014 season, led off the eighth with a line-drive single to right field for Atlanta’s first hit. With one out, Andrelton Simmons’ single up the middle chased Lester, but Hector Rondon stranded the baserunners.

A chopper down the line in the Braves’ first by Nick Markakis was originally ruled a hit. The scorer, longtime Atlanta sports writer Jack Wilkinson, changed his call in the top of the seventh and charged an error to third baseman Kris Bryant, who let the ball get under his glove.

Wilkinson said he thought about changing his ruling even before realizing there was a potential no-hitter at stake.

“I just wanted to make the right call,” Wilkinson said. “It wasn’t like I was thinking or even saying to myself ‘My God, this guy’s got a no-hitter going. I could have blown this for him.’”

Markakis was stunned by the reversal.

“I don’t know how many years of baseball I’ve been playing but I’ve never seen that before,” Markakis said.

Gomes was surprised by how long the hit remained on the scoreboard before the scoring change.

“I’ve never seen a hit get taken away five innings later,” Gomes said.

Manny Banuelos (1-1) allowed one earned run on six hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings.

“Manny was OK,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. “He wasn’t as bad as his numbers.”

Lester (5-8) had gone 10 starts without a win. He struck out seven, walked one and hit Pierzynski with a pitch in 7 1-3 innings.

The Cubs had lost eight straight at Turner Field dating to 2012. It was their longest road drought against the Braves since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third when Bryant singled, moved to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Banuelos and scored on Anthony Rizzo’s single.

Chris Denorfia doubled in the fourth and scored on a single by Starlin Castro.

Rizzo added another RBI single in the Cubs’ two-run ninth.

REVOLVING DOOR

Jason Frasor, who signed with Atlanta on Friday, replaced Banuelos in the fifth. According to information the Elias Sports Bureau provided the team, Frasor is the franchise-record 51st player used by the Braves this season.

CATCH 22

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he won’t force playing time - including in the outfield - for rookie catcher Kyle Schwarber, who had three hits on Friday night but didn’t start on Saturday. Schwarber hit a pinch-hit fly ball to centerfield in the ninth.

“There’s a plan in place. Let’s stick to the plan,” Maddon said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel is on track to make his scheduled start against the Reds on Tuesday. He left his July 8 start against the Cardinals after only one inning due to tightness in his left hamstring but had no problems throwing a side session on Saturday.

Braves: LHP Andrew McKirahan can join the team on Monday. He has been on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett while completing his 80-game suspension following a positive drug test. His penalty began after he appeared in three games with Atlanta in April. “The plan is for him to be here Monday,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Jake Arrieta (10-5), coming off a complete-game victory over the White Sox, will try to extend his string of five consecutive quality starts in Sunday’s final game of the series. He is 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA in that five-game stretch.

Braves: RHP Shelby Miller (5-5) will look for better run support in his first start after making his first NL All-Star team. He ranks sixth in the NL with his 2.38 ERA, but he has received only 2.93 runs of offensive support per nine innings, fifth-worst among NL starters.

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