Braves defeat Cubs
3 games to 0
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Sep. 30||ATL 7||CHC 1|
|2||Oct. 1||ATL 2||CHC 1|
|3||Oct. 3||ATL 6||CHC 2|
Managers: Cox, Bobby, ATL; Riggleman, Jim, CHC
Path to the NLDS: Atlanta (106-56) won the NL East by 18 games; Chicago (90-73) won the NL Wild Card.
The Braves set a modern club record for wins (106) and winning percentage (.654), and unlike what happened against Florida the previous year, they were not denied by a Wild Card. They swept a Cubs team that was back in the playoffs for the first time since losing to the Giants in the '89 NLCS, and this time, the Cubs had advanced by beating the Giants in a one-game playoff for the Wild Card./p>
John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were lined up to start these games against the Cubs, and the first two were scheduled at Turner Field. Smoltz was backed by a Ryan Klesko grand slam in the opener, a 7-1 Braves victory.
Chicago's best chance came the next day, when it took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. But Cubs manager Jim Riggleman left starter Kevin Tapani in the game, and Javy Lopez made them pay with a game-tying home run. In the bottom of the 10th, Chipper Jones lined a walk-off single to center off Terry Mulholland to score Walt Weiss and give the Braves a 2-0 series lead moving to Chicago.
In Game 3, Greg Maddux returned to his old home to face NL Rookie of the Year Kerry Wood, and the result was a magnificent pitchers duel. The breakthrough came in the top of the eighth, when the Braves put up a five-spot, including Eddie Perez's grand slam. Atlanta was now 4-0 in Division Series action since the playoff format change in 1995, and it had a combined 12-1 NLDS record.