Game One Hundred Twenty – Cubs 5, Braves 3
WP – Jason Motte (8-1) LP – Shelby Miller (5-10) Save – Hector Rondon (22)
The Cubs fought back from a 3-1 deficit in the fifth inning and found a way to beat the Braves on Friday afternoon. Kris Bryant and Miguel Montero hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth that gave the Cubs the lead. The bullpen tossed four innings of shutout ball and the Cubs won for the second time in as many days at the old ballyard.
The Cubs took advantage of two errors by the Braves defense and turned the extra outs into a pair of runs. Chris Coghlan (1-for-3 with a home run) tied the game in the first inning on a homer to the basket in left. The Cubs did not manage another hit off Shelby Miller until the fifth inning.
Miguel Montero (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) singled to start the fifth. After Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a walk) walked, Chris Denorfia batted for Kyle Hendricks and hit a routine grounder to third that should have started an around the horn double play. Pedro Ciriaco threw the ball into right field, Montero scored and Shelby Miller had to really work to get out of the fifth. The extra pitches Miller made in the fifth impacted the sixth inning.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a walk, a RBI and a run scored) walked with one out in the sixth and scored the tying run on a double from Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored). Miguel Montero doubled in Bryant on the next pitch from Miller and gave the Cubs the lead.
The Cubs added a run in the seventh after Andrelton Simmons committed just his fourth error of the season. Anthony Rizzo singled to right with two outs and plated Addison Russell (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) with the fifth and much-needed insurance run.
Kyle Hendricks put together a solid outing. Hendricks struggled with his command and left too many pitches up in the zone that might have cost him on another day. Hendricks allowed a run in the first inning on back-to-back singles to start the game and a fielder’s choice off the bat of Freddie Freeman. The Cubs defense did not help out Hendricks in the fourth. The Braves converted two dribblers to third into a pair of runs on a Nick Markakis double.
Kyle Hendricks showed improvement from his last outing. Hendricks left after five innings. Hendricks allowed three runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts on 93 pitches, 60 for strikes.
Jason Motte, Justin Grimm and Pedro Strop retired all nine batters they faced from the sixth through the eighth innings.
Hector Rondon recorded the 27th out after giving up a one-out, pinch-hit double to Nick Swisher and issuing a two-out walk to Cameron Maybin.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 69-51 on the season.
The Braves wasted no time Friday afternoon. Nick Markakis lined Hendricks’ first pitch into left. Cameron Maybin followed and ripped a 0-1 pitch into right center. Markakis went to third on what ended up being a long single for Maybin. The Braves, like most teams are doing against the Cubs, started running. Maybin stole second on a 0-1 pitch to Freeman. With runners on second and third and no outs, Freddie Freeman pulled a 2-1 pitch toward first. Anthony Rizzo fielded the one-hopper cleaning and threw to the plate. Markakis slid in safe just ahead of Montero’s tag … 1-0 Braves. Maybin did not advance on the play.
Kyle Hendricks had to really work but he got A.J. Pierzynski to chase a 3-2 pitch and struck him out swinging for the first out. Hendricks settled down at that point. Jace Peterson struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) and Pedro Ciriaco rolled a 2-2 pitch to third. Bryant made a strong throw and just got the speedy Ciriaco at first base to end the inning. Hendricks made 24 pitches, 16 for strikes, in the first inning.
Shelby Miller struck out Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber swinging to start his afternoon. Chris Coghlan fell behind 0-2. Coghlan lifted Miller’s third pitch to left. The wind grabbed the ball and carried it into the basket. Coghlan’s solo homer tied the game at one. Anthony Rizzo popped out to Simmons in short left to end the inning. Miller threw only 12 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the first inning.
The Cubs and Braves were tied at one after one.
Pedro Ciriaco led off the fourth with the game still tied at one. And Ciriaco reached on a dribbler to third. Andrelton Simmons bounced a 2-2 pitch toward third. Bryant fielded the ball and threw to Coghlan covering second. Ciriaco was called out, but was clearly safe. The Braves challenged the call and it was overturned. Coghlan’s inexperience really showed up on the play. Instead of stretching like a first baseman to get the out, he caught the ball like he was going to pivot to turn a double play. Michael Bourn flied out to Schwarber for the first out. Shelby Miller bunted both runners up 90 feet.
Nick Markakis drove Hendricks’ first pitch into the gap in left center. Ciriaco and Simmons scored easily on a double from Markakis … 3-1 Braves. A wild pitch on a 0-1 offering to Maybin let Markakis take third. Hendricks walked Maybin and put runners on the corners with two down. Hendricks struck out Freeman swinging (0-2 pitch) to end the inning. Hendricks made 75 pitches, 49 for strikes, in four innings.
Shelby Miller struck out two (Rizzo and Bryant) of the three batters he faced in the fourth … only 47 pitches for Miller after four, 35 for strikes.
The Braves had a 3-1 lead after four innings.
Kyle Hendricks worked around a two-out single by Ciriaco and a throwing error by Montero in the fifth. Hendricks labored before Simmons grounded a 3-1 pitch to Coghlan to end the inning. Hendricks threw 93 pitches, 60 for strikes, in five innings.
Miguel Montero started the fifth with a single to right (2-0 pitch). Jorge Soler put together the best at bat of the game against Miller to that point. Soler walked. Maddon went to his bench and had Chris Denorfia hit for Hendricks. Denorfia pulled a 0-2 pitch to third. Pedro Ciriaco fielded the routine grounder. Ciriaco threw to second, but his throw was off the mark and ended up in right field. Montero scored, 3-2 Braves. Soler stopped at third with no outs. Addison Russell struck out swinging. Fowler walked and loaded the bases with one out.
Kyle Schwarber pulled the first pitch to Freeman … 3-6-1 double play, inning over.
After five complete, the Braves led 3-2.
Jason Motte pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
Anthony Rizzo worked a walk with one out in the sixth. Kris Bryant yanked Miller’s first pitch, a 95 mph fastball, into the left corner. Rizzo scored from first after the ball bounced off the side wall and tied the game at three.
Miguel Montero was sitting first pitch fastball and pulled it (96 mph) into the gap in right center. Bryant scored and the Cubs took a 4-3 lead. Jorge Soler smoked a 1-0 pitch into left center. Montero held at third with one out. Jonathan Herrera hit for Motte and rolled into a 6-3 double play … the Cubs second inning ending double play in as many innings.
The Cubs had a 4-3 lead after six innings.
Justin Grimm set the Braves down in order in the seventh with help from a leaping catch by Dexter Fowler in center on a liner off the bat of Cameron Maybin.
Addison Russell led off the seventh with a double into the left field corner. Fowler tried to bunt his way on and popped out to Ciriaco. Fredi Gonzalez decided that was enough for Miller and brought in lefty Ross Detwiler to face Schwarber.
Kyle Schwarber grounded a 1-2 pitch back up the middle. The ball hit off Detwiler’s glove and rolled to Simmons. Russell held at second as Schwarber was thrown out at first. Maddon sent Starlin Castro up to hit for Coghlan and Gonzalez went back to his pen for Peter Moylan. Castro hit a routine grounder to short that Simmons bobbled. Simmons fourth error of the season and the first since June 15 extended the inning and put runners on the corners for Rizzo. Gonzalez made another trip to the mound. Lefty Andrew McKirahan took over for Moylan.
Anthony Rizzo pulled a 3-1 pitch into right. Russell scored, 5-3 Cubs. Kris Bryant was ruled to have grounded out to third to end the inning. Replays showed Bryant fouled the ball off his foot. Maddon questioned the call that cannot be reviewed. The inning ended and the Cubs took a 5-3 lead to the eighth.
It was a 1-2-3 eighth inning for Pedro Strop. The Cubs could not tack on the home half and Hector Rondon made his first appearance in six days.
Rondon struck out Michael Bourn swinging. Nick Swisher hit for David Aardsma and doubled to left center. Markakis grounded out to second. Swisher went to third with two down. Rondon did not get the call on a 2-2 pitch to Maybin and missed with his 3-2 offering. Rondon walked Maybin and put runners on the corners with two down. Freddie Freeman grounded out to Castro in the shift in shallow right … game over.
Dan Haren takes on Williams Perez in game three with the Braves on Saturday afternoon (3:05pm CDT).