The Chicago Cubs were fresh off of not just a sweep of the Pirates, but last nights massive blowout as well. The Atlanta Braves were hoping that the Cubs bats had cooled off. As we’ve seen, runs are hard to get the next day after a huge win. But that wasn’t going to happen. They might not have gotten 17 runs, but the runs they did get were enough to win the game.
Jon Jay led off the 1st with a single, Kris Bryant hit a double, but fan interference prevented Jay from scoring (it wasn’t a Steve Bartman type incident however. The ball bounced up into the crowd). Two men on, one out for Anthony Rizzo, who grounded out, but brought in a run giving the Cubs the lead 1-0. Albert Almora Jr. was up next, with KB at third, and two outs. Almora walked, bringing up Javier Baez with men on the corners. Javy singled, bringing in KB. Two on, two out for Ian Happ (who was just a triple shy of a cycle last night). He struck out, ending the inning. 2-0 Cubs going to the 2nd.
Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks had a tough start. He walked back-to-back batters in the first, though still got out of the inning unscathed. He walked another in the 2nd, leading to pitching coach Chris Bosio to make a visit. And whatever he said to Hendricks, worked. The next pitch he threw was a strike, and the batter flew out, ending the 2nd inning.
Rizzo walked in the 3rd, after KB struck out, bringing up Almora with a man on, and one out. Almora singled, bringing up Javy who struck out. Two on, two out for Happ. He reached on an error, loading the bases for Rene Rivera. Rivera walked, bringing in a run. Bases still loaded for Hendricks, who struck out to end the inning. 3-0 Cubs going to the 4th.
The Braves got a run in the 5th, making it a two run ballgame. 3-1 going to the home half of the 5th.
Bryant hit his 25th homer of the year in the 6th, a two run home run, giving the Cubbies some insurance runs 5-1 and bringing up Rizzo. He almost hit a home run of his own, but with the wind blowing in, he flew out. Two out for Almora who struck out. 5-1 going to the 7th.
The Braves added another run to the score in the 7th, off of a solo home run. Hendricks night was finished after that, getting a standing ovation as he left. 5-2 Cubs, with Brian Duensing coming in to replace him.
Pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. got in a jam in the 8th, getting two men on, and two outs, bringing up the tying run at bat. Thankfully, he was able to get out of the jam, thanks to the wind and Jay in left field.
Jay led off the bottom of the 8th with a triple, followed by Ben Zobrist with an RBI single, giving the Cubs some breathing room. 6-2 Cubs going to the 9th.
They remain in first place in the NL Central, and will play the Braves 3 more times this weekend, with John Lackey taking the mound Friday.