Short drives in go-ahead run as Braves top Cubs 2-0 despite another strong start from Imanaga

ATLANTA — Zack Short made the most of his first start with Atlanta by breaking a scoreless tie with a run-scoring double in the sixth and the Braves spoiled another strong start by Chicago rookie Shota Imanaga to beat the Cubs 2-0 on Monday night.

Short, who filled in at third base while Austin Riley was held out with tightness in his left side, lined a pitch from right-hander Hayden Wesneski (2-2) into the right field corner to drive in Travis d'Arnaud, who doubled with two outs.

Ronald Acuña Jr. followed with a single to left field to drive in Short for a 2-0 lead.

Imanaga threw five scoreless innings, extending his team record to eight consecutive starts to begin his career without allowing more than two runs. Imanaga stranded two baserunners in the second and third innings and left the bases loaded in the fourth.

Imanaga had eight strikeouts and lowered his majors-leading ERA to 0.96 despite giving up seven hits with three walks.

Cubs manager Craig Counsell was ejected in the fourth inning soon after first base umpire Junior Valentine ruled Acuña successfully checked his swing with two outs and the bases loaded. Following a delay when Counsell came out of the dugout to argue with Valentine, Imanaga escaped the jam on Acuña's fly ball to right field.

It was Counsell's 29th ejection of his career and first with the Cubs.

Braves right-hander Reynaldo López kept pace with Imanaga, throwing five scoreless innings while giving up two hits and two walks.

Left-hander Ray Kerr (1-0) recorded three strikeouts in two perfect innings. A.J. Minter pitched the ninth, stranding two baserunners, to earn his first save in four chances, one day after a blown save in a 4-3 loss at the New York Mets.

Acuña, who was picked off first base twice in Sunday's loss at the Mets, was picked off by Imanaga following a first-inning walk. Imanaga also picked off Ozzie Albies after Albies singled in the fifth.

The Braves’ Chris Sale (5-1, 2.95) will face the Cubs’ Jameson Taillon (3-0, 1.13) on Tuesday night. Sale is 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA in five career games, including three starts, in his career against Chicago.

Chicago Cubs' Michael Busch is tagged out by Atlanta Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia as he tries to stela second base in the second inning of a baseball game Monday, May 13, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga works in the second inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Monday, May 13, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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