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CHC@PIT: Samardzija fans nine in Opening Day win

The Braves hoped the Upton brothers would help continue their organization's success into the post-Chipper Jones era.

The script was perfect Saturday night, when the B.J. and Justin homered in the bottom of the ninth to give Atlanta a walk-off win over the Cubs. Now, the brothers look to continue Atlanta's winning ways Sunday afternoon at Turner Field as the Braves look for their first sweep of 2013.

The Braves are 4-1 for the first time since 2009, and hope to do Sunday what they also did that season -- start 5-1.

They'll chase that mark behind veteran starter Tim Hudson, who exited with one out in the fifth inning against the Phillies in his season debut. Hudson is 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs, but hasn't beaten Chicago since Sept. 8, 2006.

The Cubs send right-hander Jeff Samardzija to the mound in hopes of avoiding the sweep, and the 28-year-old has certainly looked the part of a budding ace during his short time in the rotation.

Samardzija became a starter last season and received the Opening Day nod this year in Pittsburgh, tossing eight shutout innings while holding the Pirates to two hits and striking out nine. It was, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said afterward, "probably as good a game as he's pitched starting his career."

A handful of other gems have stood out during Samardzija's young starting career, with two of his finest coming against the Braves last year. He faced Atlanta twice in 2012, tossing seven innings of one-run ball each time.

Cubs: Rizzo snaps streak
Riding an 0-for-11 streak at the plate entering Saturday, Rizzo said prior to the game that the Cubs were due for an explosive day, and he was right. The Cubs scored a season-high five runs and Rizzo snapped an 0-for-13 skid in the fifth inning with a two-run homer.

"Hitting is contagious," said Rizzo, who finished 2-for-5. "Once someone gets going, I'm sure everyone will get going."

• Shortstop Starlin Castro is four doubles shy of 100 for his career.

• The Cubs are hitting only .180 this year, but are also holding opponents to a .200 average.

Braves: J-Up keeps slugging
Justin Upton continued his torrid start for his new team Saturday, hitting a first-inning home run off Cubs righty Carlos Villanueva before his walk-off bomb off Chicago closer Carlos Marmol. Upton has a seven-game hitting streak dating back to last season, during which he's batting .444.

• Shortstop Andrelton Simmons was scratched Saturday with a sore right thumb and manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he likely will let Simmons rest until at least Monday.

Worth noting
• Half of Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano's six career hits against Hudson have been home runs.

• Current Braves hitters are batting .171 against Samardzija, while Hudson has limited current Cubs hitters to a .197 average. Comments