Cubs Walk Off with Another Loss – Braves 3, Cubs 2

Game Thirty-Four: Cubs 2, Braves 3 – 10 innings

WP – Alex Wood (3-5) LP – Wesley Wright (0-1) Save – None

To the Cubs credit they never quit on Friday night after managing only one run on one hit through eight innings. The Cubs tied the game at two in the ninth against Craig Kimbrel but Wesley Wright walked Jason Heyward to start the tenth. Heyward stole second and following an intentional walk to Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman singled to center and Heyward scored the game winner.

Rain delayed the start of Friday night’s game for 18 minutes, and with both offenses struggling to score runs, the first game of the series predictably ended up being a pitcher’s duel. Jason Hammel was taken off the hook by Chris Coghlan and Ryan Kalish in the ninth but the Cubs still ended up on the short end of a low scoring game.

Jason Hammel put together another good outing. And while it would be easy to second guess his decision to pitch to Chris Johnson with two on and two out in the third with the Cubs up 1-0 at the time, the offense did little if anything to support him. Hammel settled down after the third inning and did not allow the Braves to add to the 2-1 lead. Hammel hit his spots with a good rhythm in seven strong innings.

Jason Hammel gave up two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts, one walk and a wild pitch. Hammel threw 112 pitches, 76 for strikes, in seven innings.

Zac Rosscup and Hector Rondon combined on a scoreless eighth inning. And Rondon was left in for the ninth inning after the Cubs tied the game. Rondon retired the four batters he faced with three strikeouts on 24 pitches, 15 for strikes, in 1 1/3 innings.

Wesley Wright took the loss after issuing the leadoff walk to Jason Heyward in the tenth. Wright did not record an out while issuing two free passes and giving up the game winning hit to Freddie Freeman.

Mike Olt (1-for-2 with a home run and a walk) provided the Cubs lone highlight over the first eight innings of Friday night’s game. Mike Olt led off the third with a long home run off of Julio Teheran. Olt’s blast traveled more than 400 feet and he gave the Cubs a brief one-run lead with his third homer in as many games … and his seventh longball of the season.

Chris Coghlan (1-for-2 with a run scored) led off the ninth with a single off of Craig Kimbrel just the second Cubs hit on the night. After Emilio Bonifacio moved Coghlan to second base on a hit and run grounder to short, Ryan Kalish (1-for-3 with a RBI and a walk) singled in Coghlan to tie the game. The Cubs put runners on first and third in the ninth with two outs before Nate Schierholtz (0-for-4) grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Cubs scored two runs on four hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts. The Cubs did not leave a single man on base through the first seven innings. Julio Teheran retired 17 batters in a row after the Olt homer in the third until Mike Olt worked a two-out walk in the eighth inning.

With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 10 under .500 for the season with a 12-22 record.

Jason Hammel worked out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning when he struck out B.J. Upton swinging to end the inning. Julio Teheran faced the minimum over his first two innings of work and Hammel set down the side in order in the bottom of the second. The game was scoreless after two innings.

Mike Olt led off the third inning and worked a 3-1 count. Olt crushed Teheran’s fifth pitch. The ball traveled more than 400 feet into the stands in left center. Olt collected the Cubs’ first hit and run on his seventh longball of the season. Teheran retired Baker (flyout to deep right), Hammel (pop out to first base) and Bonifacio (strikeout looking) in order to end the inning. The Cubs were making Teheran work. It took the Braves’ young right hander 51 pitches, 27 for strikes, to get through three innings.

Jason Hammel struck out Heyward and retired Justin Upton on a flyout to center for the first two outs in the third inning. Freddie Freeman poked a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Fredi Gonzalez called for a hit and run on a 1-1 offering to Gattis. The Braves’ catcher lashed a single into left. Freeman advanced to third on the play. The first pitch to Chris Johnson did not make it all the way to the plate. Baker did a good job of blocking the pitch and holding Freeman at third. But Gattis advanced to second on the play. Chris Johnson pulled a 1-1 pitch into left. Freeman and Gattis scored, 2-1 Braves. B.J. Upton flied out to center to end the inning. Hammel threw 58 pitches, 42 for strikes, in the first three innings.

And after three complete, the Braves had a 2-1 lead.

Julio Teheran simply dominated the Cubs throughout his outing. Teheran retired 17 batters in a row after the Olt homer in the third until an Olt walk in the eighth inning. Hammel turned the game over to the Cubs’ pen in the eighth. Zac Rosscup and Hector Rondon recorded three outs and the game went to the ninth with the Braves up 2-1.

Craig Kimbrel took the hill for the ninth and Chris Coghlan greeted him with a single to right, just the second hit for the Cubs on the night. Coghlan entered the game as part of a double switch in the bottom of the eighth. Emilio Bonifacio worked a 3-1 count. Renteria started Coghlan on the next pitch. Bonifacio rolled one to Simmons at short. But his only play was to first base as Coghlan slid in safe at second base. Ryan Kalish singled to left. Justin Upton charged the ball, but overran it and Coghlan scored … game tied at two. Kalish advanced to second on Upton’s error. Rizzo grounded out to first, Kalish advanced to third and held when Castro walked. With runners on the corners, two down and Kimbrel on the ropes, Nate Schierholtz hit a weak grounder to Pena at second to end the inning.

Hector Rondon retired all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth. Free baseball … The Cubs and Braves went to the tenth inning tied at two.

Luis Valbuena led off the tenth with a single off lefty Alex Wood. Wood struck out pinch-hitter Junior Lake. John Baker was left in to face Wood and flied out to center. And Coghlan struck out swinging to end the inning.

Wesley Wright took the hill for the tenth and walked Jason Heyward. Heyward broke for second on Wright’s first movement. Wright took his time stepping off the rubber and by the time he threw to Rizzo, the Cubs had no shot at Heyward at second base. Wright intentionally walked Justin Upton to face Freemen with the game on the line. Freddie Freeman ripped Wright’s first pitch into center. Heyward scored … game over.

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Ervin Santana in game two at Turner Field on Saturday night (6:05pm CDT).

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver