Game Eighty-Eight – Cubs 2, Braves 4
WP – Arodys Vizcaino (1-0) LP – Pedro Strop (1-5) Save – Jim Johnson (6)
Pedro Strop gave up a two-out, two-run single to Eury Perez with the bases loaded in the eighth inning that was the difference Friday night in Atlanta as the Cubs lost the opener of the three-game series to the Braves.
The Cubs wasted opportunities to put runs on the board while the Braves scored all four of their runs on three two-out hits. The Cubs played a rather sloppy game and will have to stop playing to the level of the competition. Outside of the two errors Kyle Schwarber was charged with, the Cubs made two outs on the bases that ended two different innings.
Kyle Schwarber (3-for-4 with a double and a run scored) had an excellent night with the bat in his return to the big leagues. Hitting out of the two-hole behind Dexter Fowler (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored), Schwarber collected three hits and kept the line moving. Kris Bryant (0-for-3 with a walk) and Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3 with a walk) were not able to cash in those opportunities.
Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove in the Cubs’ two runs with a two-out single in the third. Soler was thrown out at second to end the inning, the first of two big mistakes on the bases for the Cubs on Friday night.
The Cubs managed seven hits and three walks. And as a team, 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base. The Cubs hit into two double plays.
Kyle Hendricks had a solid outing. Hendricks could not find a rhythm working with Kyle Schwarber. And it was rather obvious he was uncomfortable on the mound. Hendricks struggled putting the Braves away. Both runs off Hendricks scored on two-out hits.
Hendricks would have posted a quality start if not for a catcher’s interference call that prolonged the sixth inning. Hendricks left with two outs in the sixth and the go ahead run on first base. Justin Grimm wiggled out of a bases loaded, two-out jam by inducing a grounder to Starlin Castro off the bat of Eury Perez.
Kyle Hendricks was charged with two runs, one earned, on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Hendricks made 100 pitches, 62 for strikes in 5 2/3 innings.
Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless seventh. Rondon picked off Jace Peterson from first base after he walked the Braves’ second baseman. Rondon faced the minimum and turned the game over to Strop in the eighth tied at two.
Pedro Strop was unable to throw enough strikes in the eighth. Strop allowed a one-out double to Kelly Johnson before intentionally walking A.J. Pierzynski with two outs. Strop walked Andrelton Simmons and loaded the bases for Eury Perez. And Perez went with Strop’s 82 mph slider and took it into right field.
Kyle Schwarber was shaky behind the plate in his first start as a catcher in the majors. Schwarber committed a throwing error that led to the Braves’ first run being unearned and a catcher’s interference call prolonged the sixth. Schwarber did a good job at blocking pitches and he has cut down on his movement. Schwarber did a little more receiving Friday night than catching which is a good sign. Schwarber did not get several borderline pitches called the Cubs way.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 47-41 on the season.
The Cubs put runners on the corners with no outs in the first inning. Dexter Fowler reached on an error by first baseman Kelly Johnson and went to third on a single to right by Kyle Schwarber (1-2 pitch). Kris Bryant received a steady diet of sliders and struck out swinging (1-2 pitch).
Anthony Rizzo smoked a 3-1 pitch back up the middle that Jace Peterson hauled in with a diving catch. With runners still on the corners, Jorge Soler popped out to third base (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Julio Teheran worked out of the jam and made 21 pitches, 13 for strikes.
Kyle Hendricks retired Jace Peterson on a grounder to Russell to start the first. Cameron Maybin followed with a single to center. Nick Markakis appeared to single to center. But Addison Russell somehow got to the ball and made a throw to Castro at second base from the outfield grass as he ran into left center. Markakis took over at first base.
On a 1-1 pitch to Kelly Johnson, Markakis took off for second base. Schwarber airmailed his throw, the ball went into center and Markakis ended up at third. Johnson singled to right on a 3-2 pitch. Markakis scored, 1-0 Braves. Juan Uribe grounded out to Russell for the third out. Hendricks made 18 pitches, 10 for strikes, in the first inning.
And after one complete, the Braves had a 1-0 lead.
Addison Russell led off the third with the Cubs trailing 1-0. Russell flied out to right. Dexter Fowler walked (3-2 pitch) and went to third on a Kyle Schwarber single to right (2-1 pitch). With runners on the corners and one out, Kris Bryant could not lay off Teheran’s sliders and struck out swinging. Anthony Rizzo walked on four pitches to load the base.
Jorge Soler singled to left center (2-2 pitch). Fowler and Schwarber scored, 2-1 Cubs, but Soler was thrown out at second to end the inning. Soler jogged into the base and did not slide. Teheran made 64 pitches, 37 for strikes, in three innings.
Kyle Hendricks caught Julio Teheran looking and Peterson grounded out to Rizzo for the second out. Hendricks issued a two-out walk to Cameron Maybin.
Nick Markakis doubled to right (1-0 pitch). Maybin scored from first and tied the game at two. Kelly Johnson struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning … 55 pitches for Hendricks after three innings, 30 for strikes.
The game was tied at two after three complete.
Arodys Vizcaino took over for the Braves in the eighth inning with the game still tied at two. Vizcaino was recently activated after missing the first half of the season serving a PED suspension. Vizcaino retired the Cubs in order in the eighth inning. Schwarber grounded out to first. Bryant lined out to third base (3-0 pitch) and Rizzo struck out swinging.
Pedro Strop started the eighth and Markakis popped out to Bryant (1-2 pitch) for the first out. Kelly Johnson doubled to right (2-2 pitch). Juan Uribe lined out to Rizzo for the second out. Maddon had Pedro Strop walk A.J. Pierzynski. Strop walked Andrelton Simmons to load the bases with two down.
Eury Perez singled to right on Strop’s first pitch. Johnson and Pierzynski scored, 4-2 Braves. Perez ended up at second. With runners on second and third with two down, Joey Terdoslavich lined out to Russell to end the inning.
After eight complete, the Cubs trailed 4-2.
Jim Johnson set the Cubs down in order in the ninth to end the game.
Jon Lester faces Manny Banuelos in game two with the Braves on Saturday night.