Game One Hundred Twenty-Two – Cubs 9, Braves 3
WP – Jason Hammel (7-5) LP – Matt Wisler (5-4) Save – None
Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero and Kyle Schwarber all went deep Sunday. The Cubs hit five home runs, two by Kris Bryant and the first four to the opposite field and completed the four-game sweep over the Braves behind Jason Hammel.
The Cubs used Wrigley Field to their advantage again Sunday. Dexter Fowler (1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and a HBP) and Kris Bryant (3-for-4 with two home runs, a HBP, three RBI and four runs scored) hit the first two of what would be five home runs for the Cubs on the afternoon in the first inning. Kyle Schwarber (1-for-5 with a home run) went oppo for a solo shot in the second and Miguel Montero (1-for-2 with a home run, three walks and three RBI) smacked a three-run homer to left in the third.
Kris Bryant’s second longball of the afternoon was a towering shot that landed in the basket in center in the sixth inning.
And Jason Hammel (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in a run with a two-out bases loaded single in the fourth inning. The Cubs scored nine runs on 11 hits with six walks and two HBP.
Addison Russell (1-for-3) left in the sixth inning with tightness in his groin. Joe Maddon did not sound concerned about Russell and took him out of the game for precautionary reasons. Russell might be held out of Monday’s game with the Indians according to multiple post-game reports.
Jason Hammel had a very good day. Hammel was sharp in the first inning before his teammates put runs on the board and he just settled in with the three-run cushion. Hammel kept the ball down with good command for a majority of his outing. Hammel repeated his mechanics with a consistent release point that had been missing for close to two months.
Jason Hammel pitched into the seventh inning and recorded his first quality start since July 3. Hammel turned the game over to the bullpen with one out in the seventh and the Cubs leading 9-2. Hammel allowed two runs on six hits with a walk, a HBP and eight strikeouts. Hammel made 104 pitches, 69 for strikes, in 6 1/3 innings.
Clayton Richard gave up the Braves third and final run of the game in the seventh. An infield single by Cameron Maybin followed by a Freddie Freeman hit by pitch, put two on with two down. And Nick Swisher singled in Maybin.
Jason Motte and James Russell retired the last six batters to end the game.
The Cubs completed the first four-game sweep of the Braves at Wrigley Field since Aug. 18-21, 1968. And with the sweep, the Cubs finished the season-series with a 6-1 record against the Braves.
The Cubs have completed four, four-game series sweeps this season (Mets: May 11-14; Brewers: July 30-Aug. 2; Giants: Aug. 6-9; Braves: Aug. 20-23) the first time the franchise has swept four, four-game series in a single year since 1945.
With Sunday’s win (12-9 on Sunday in 2015), the Cubs improved to a season-high 20 games over .500 with a 71-51 record.
Jason Hammel was sharp in the first inning. Hammel kept the ball down with one exception and Nick Swisher lined a 2-2 pitch into center for a two-out base knock. Hammel plunked Freddie Freeman before Swisher’s hit on a ball low and in that Freeman didn’t really try to avoid. Hammel retired Adonis Garcia on a grounder to third to end the inning. Hammel made 21 pitches, 13 for strikes, in the opening frame.
Dexter Fowler set the tone for the Cubs’ offense on Wisler’s second pitch of the afternoon. Fowler drove a 1-0 pitch from Matt Wisler into the bleachers in left center. And Fowler gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Kyle Schwarber and Chris Coghlan grounded out to second.
While Fowler set the tone, Anthony Rizzo changed the game. Wisler seemed to shake off the Fowler home run and got two groundball outs. Rizzo put together an excellent at bat. Rizzo worked a full count and Wisler eventually walked him.
Kris Bryant launched the first pitch halfway up the bleachers in right and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead.
Miguel Montero followed with a walk. Jorge Soler reached on an error by Garcia at third base. Soler pulled a 1-1 pitch that Garcia could not field cleanly before he threw the ball into the stands. With runners on second and third, Hammel grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 3-0 lead after one complete.
Jason Hammel gave up a two-out single to Ryan Lavarnway in the second inning. That was all for the Braves. Hammel needed 33 pitches, 22 for strikes, to complete two innings.
The Cubs added on in the second. Addison Russell struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) and Fowler grounded out to Peterson at second.
Kyle Schwarber drove a 2-2 pitch over Swisher’s head in left. And the Cubs’ third homer made it a 4-0 ballgame.
Coghlan lined a 1-2 pitch back up the middle that hit off Wisler’s glove and bounced right to Peterson for the third out.
The Cubs led 4-0 after two innings.
Jason Hammel set the Braves down in order in the third … 40 pitches for Hammel after three, 26 for strikes.
Anthony Rizzo started the third with an infield single. Rizzo hit a smash back up the middle that Wisler deflected toward short. Pedro Ciriaco did not have a play. Wisler hit Kris Bryant.
Miguel Montero made the rookie pay for plunking Bryant. Montero launched a 0-1 pitch to left. The ball sailed into the bleachers and the Cubs took a 7-0 lead.
Jorge Soler grounded out to third and Hammel struck out swinging. Addison Russell kept the inning going with a bloop single to left on a 3-2 pitch. Dexter Fowler walked and chased Matt Wisler from the game.
Fredi Gonzalez replaced Wisler with Andrew McKirahan and Schwarber lined out to right to end the inning.
It was 7-0 Cubs after three innings.
Jason Hammel continued pounding the strike zone in the fourth with quality pitches. Hammel struck out Swisher swinging for the first out. Adonis Garcia doubled to right center. Soler just missed making a sensational diving catch. Hammel struck out Peterson and Ciriaco swinging to end the inning. Hammel threw 58 pitches, 39 for strikes, in four innings.
Andrew McKirahan stayed in for the fourth. Coghlan grounded out to third and Swisher made a leaping catch in left to take away extra bases from Rizzo. Kris Bryant reached on a bloop single to left. Montero and Soler walked to load the bases.
Jason Hammel helped himself with a bloop single to left on a 0-1 pitch. Bryant scored, 8-0 Cubs. With the bases loaded, Russell struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs had an 8-0 lead after four innings.
Ryan Lavarnway broke up the shutout with a homer to left center leading off the fifth. Andrew McKirahan struck out swinging in his first Major League at bat. Nick Markakis blooped a 0-2 pitch into center and was forced at second when Maybin hit a grounder to Coghlan. Maybin stole second and Hammel walked Freeman. With runners on first and second with two down, Nick Swisher pulled a 3-1 pitch into right center. Maybin scored, 8-2 Cubs. Garcia grounded out to short to end the inning. Hammel made 84 pitches, 55 for strikes, in five innings.
Dexter Fowler was hit by McKirahan to start the fifth. Schwarber popped out to short. Fowler advanced to second when Coghlan grounded out to first. Rizzo struck out swinging to end the inning.
At the end of five, the Cubs led 8-2.
Jason Hammel set the Braves down in order in the sixth … 98 pitches for Hammel after six innings, 65 for strikes.
David Aardsma took over for the Braves in the sixth and Kris Bryant greeted him with a towering homer to center. The ball ended up in the basket and Bryant’s second longball of the day gave the Cubs a 9-2 lead. Montero lined out to left center. Soler and Hammel struck out swinging to end the inning.
And the Cubs took a 9-2 lead into the seventh inning.
Jason Hammel started the seventh and Jonathan Herrera, who replaced Coghlan at second to start the inning, made a leaping catch on a ball ticketed for right center off the bat of Eury Perez for the first out. Maddon decided that was enough for Hammel and went to the pen for Clayton Richard. Hammel received a standing ovation from the crowd at Wrigley as he walked off the field.
Nick Markakis grounded out to second but Cameron Maybin reached on an infield single. Richard hit Freeman with a 1-2 pitch. Nick Swisher singled to right. Maybin scored, 9-3 Cubs. Garcia grounded out to second to end the inning.
Matt Marksberry retired the Cubs in order in the seventh.
The Cubs led 9-3 after seven innings.
And that would be the final score. Jason Motte pitched a scoreless eighth and James Russell recorded the last three outs against his former team to end the game.
The Cubs and Indians have a make-up game scheduled for Monday afternoon (1:05pm CDT). Jon Lester takes on Corey Kluber in the finale of the seven-game homestand.