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La Stella’s pinch-hit homer carries Cubs past Braves 5-4

ATLANTA (AP) – Tommy La Stella hit the first pinch-hit homer of his career against his former team, carrying the Chicago Cubs to a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves in a matchup of NL division leaders Thursday night.

Chicago stopped off at SunTrust Park for a single game before the start of a regularly scheduled 10-game road trip, making up a contest that was washed out May 17.

La Stella, who got his start with the Braves organization, made it a fruitful layover. After Atlanta went ahead with a three-run fifth, the infielder launched a two-run shot off Mike Foltynewicz that nearly reached the Chop House restaurant above the right-field seats .

Chicago Cubs’ Tommy La Stella and Kyle Schwarber, rear, celebrate in the dugout after La Stella’s two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

It was also La Stella’s first homer of the season.

Freddie Freeman had three RBIs for the Braves.

Foltynewicz (10-9) was roughed up after an otherwise dominating August in which he went 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA over his first five starts. The right-hander surrendered six hits and five runs (four earned) over six innings.

Mike Montgomery came off the disabled list to make his first start for the Cubs since Aug. 7. He allowed four runs on eight hits in 4 2-3 innings.

Brandon Kintzler (2-3) claimed the win by getting the final out of the fifth. Pedro Strop worked the ninth for his 11th save.

The Cubs jumped ahead with two runs in the second, taking advantage of Foltynewicz’s balk and an error by shortstop Ozzie Albies, who unleashed a bad throw trying to get Jason Heyward at the plate. Chicago increased the lead to 3-0 on Willson Contreras’ run-scoring double in the third.

Atlanta broke through in the fourth, scoring a run after Montgomery retired the first two hitters. Ronald Acuna Jr. singled, Johan Camargo was hit by a pitch and Freeman singled to right.

Those three were in the middle of things again in the fifth as the Braves surged ahead. Acuna and Camargo started the inning with singles, before Freeman drove one the opposite way to left center. Heyward stretched out but failed to get a glove on the ball, which rolled all the way to the wall for a two-run triple .

Making matters worse for Chicago, Heyward had leave the game because of tightness in his right hamstring. He was able to walk slowly off the field, getting a hug from former teammate Freeman on his way to the Cubs dugout.

Kurt Suzuki put the Braves for the first time, driving home Freeman with a sacrifice fly.

The lead didn’t last long.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: 3B Kris Bryant (shoulder) struck out twice Thursday while batting leadoff during a rehab stint at Iowa. He’ll likely rejoin the big league club this weekend. … LHP Brian Duensing (shoulder) is also expected back after the rosters expand on Saturday. He’s been sidelined since Aug. 3.

Braves: The bullpen could be rather crowded for the final month of the season. RHPs Shane Carle (shoulder), Peter Moylan (forearm) and Brandon McCarthy (knee) are rehabbing at Triple-A Gwinnett with no apparent issues. … Closer Arodys Vizcaino (right shoulder) is set to throw a batting practice session on Friday, which could be a precursor to his rehab stint in the minors. … RHP Jose Ramirez (shoulder) is showing signs of improvement after missing much of the season. “All of a sudden, he’s feeling good,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s close to doing a rehab at Gwinnett.”

UP NEXT

Cubs: Chicago travels to Philadelphia to face another playoff-contending team in a weekend series. LHP Jose Quintana (11-9, 4.33) will get the nod in Friday’s opener against Phillies RHP Nick Pivetta (7-10, 4.76).

Braves: RHP Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 3.05) takes the mound for the opener of a three-game series against Pittsburgh at SunTrust Park. The Pirates will counter with RHP Jameson Taillon (10-9, 3.49).

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

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For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. and Johan Camargo (17) celebrate at home plate after scoring on a triple to left field by Freddie Freeman during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. and Johan Camargo (17) celebrate at home plate after scoring on a triple to left field by Freddie Freeman during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs' Tommy La Stella and Kyle Schwarber (12) celebrate at home plate after La Stella's two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs’ Tommy La Stella and Kyle Schwarber (12) celebrate at home plate after La Stella’s two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs center fielder Jason Heyward watches a ball off the bat of Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman bounce past him in left field after diving for it during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs center fielder Jason Heyward watches a ball off the bat of Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman bounce past him in left field after diving for it during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz works the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz works the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras puts drops in his eye during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras puts drops in his eye during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery works the fourth inning of the team's baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery works the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs second baseman Daniel Murphy tosses the ball to shortstop Javier Baez after fielding a grounder by Atlanta Braves' Nick Markakis, for the force on Freddie Freeman at second base during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs second baseman Daniel Murphy tosses the ball to shortstop Javier Baez after fielding a grounder by Atlanta Braves’ Nick Markakis, for the force on Freddie Freeman at second base during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs' Jason Heyward is congratulated in the dugout after scoring against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs’ Jason Heyward is congratulated in the dugout after scoring against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs' Jason Heyward slides safely across home plate after Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki, left, couldn't catch a throw from second baseman Ozzie Albies during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. Albies was charged with an error on the play. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs’ Jason Heyward slides safely across home plate after Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki, left, couldn’t catch a throw from second baseman Ozzie Albies during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. Albies was charged with an error on the play. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs' Mike Montgomery pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Chicago Cubs’ Mike Montgomery pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. is caught stealing second base by Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, left, on a throw from first baseman Anthony Rizzo during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. is caught stealing second base by Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, left, on a throw from first baseman Anthony Rizzo during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

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