Game One Hundred Twenty-One – Cubs 9, Braves 7
WP – Pedro Strop (2-6) LP – Edwin Jackson (2-2) Save – Hector Rondon (23)
Miguel Montero led off the eighth inning with the game tied at seven and gave the Cubs the lead for good. Montero hit a solo homer to left center off Edwin Jackson and Jorge Soler followed with the Cubs fourth longball of the game, a solo home run into the basket in left. And for the second day in a row, the Cubs fought from behind and beat the Braves at the old ballyard.
The Cubs used the wind and the conditions at Wrigley on Saturday afternoon. Three of the four home runs the Cubs hit either tied the game or gave them a lead. To the Cubs credit, after the Braves put a five-spot on the board in the top of the fifth, the offense scored three in the home-half and did not let a struggling Braves team gain any momentum.
Dexter Fowler (3-for-5 with a triple and two runs scored) started the scoring in the first inning. Fowler tripled and scored when Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) grounded out to first base.
Addison Russell (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) had a big game at the plate. Russell tied it at two in the second with a two-out bloop single to right center.
Anthony Rizzo went opposite field in the third and his 25th homer of the season gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored) delivered a clutch, two-run double with two outs in the fifth that made it a 7-5 game. Miguel Montero followed (2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI) and doubled Bryant in. Montero’s two-out double cut the Braves lead to one-run.
Miguel Montero and Jorge Soler (2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored) went back-to-back in the eighth.
The Cubs scored nine runs on 11 hits, seven for extra bases, and two walks. And four of the runs scored on two-out hits.
Dan Haren retired the side in order in two of the four innings he completed. Haren actually pitched a little better than his final line indicates. Haren gave up a two-run homer to Nick Swisher in the second that gave the Braves a 2-1 lead. Haren settled back in and did not allow any further damage. After the Braves put runners on the corners with one out in the fifth, Joe Maddon went to his pen. Haren left with the Cubs leading 3-2.
Travis Wood did not have it Saturday and based on his last two outings he could use a breather. Wood gave up a game tying double to Freddie Freeman and a two-run single to A.J. Pierzynski that closed the book on Haren and gave the Braves the lead.
Dan Haren was charged with four runs on six hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Haren made 64 pitches, 45 for strikes.
Travis Wood served up a two-run homer to Nick Swisher, his second two-run shot of the game gave the Braves a 7-3 lead. Swisher tied Mark Teixeira for most games (14) with home runs by a switch-hitter from both sides of the plate. Wood gave up hits to four of the six batters he faced Saturday.
Tommy Hunter, Clayton Richard and Pedro Strop did not allow the Braves to score another run. And Hector Rondon picked up the save after recording three outs on six pitches.
With the Giants loss in Pittsburgh, the Cubs lead for the second NL Wild Card increased to five games, six in the loss column.
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to 70-51 on the season.
Dan Haren started his day by setting down the first three batters he faced on 13 pitches, nine for strikes.
Dexter Fowler led off the home half with a triple off the ivy in right. Nick Markakis misplayed the bounce off the wall and Fowler ended up a third. Kyle Schwarber walked. Chris Coghlan struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) for the first out.
Anthony Rizzo grounded out to first. Freeman bobbled the ball and did not have a play at the plate. Fowler scored from third, 1-0 Cubs. Kris Bryant shattered his bat and rolled out to second for the third out.
The Cubs had a 1-0 lead after one complete … that quickly disappeared in the second inning.
A.J. Pierzynski started the second with a double to right on Haren’s first pitch. Adonis Garcia popped out to right center. Nick Swisher lifted a 0-2 pitch into the wind. The ball carried into the bleachers in left and the Braves took a 2-1 lead. Jace Peterson grounded out to short. Andrelton Simmons hit a smash off the mound and back up the middle. Chris Coghlan could not field the ball and Simmons reached on E4. Haren struck out Williams Perez swinging to end the inning … 30 pitches for Haren after two innings, 21 for strikes.
Miguel Montero struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out in the Cubs’ second. Jorge Soler singled to center and moved to second when Dan Haren bounced out to third.
Addison Russell tied the game with a bloop single to right center. Fowler singled to left (3-1 pitch) but Schwarber lined out to right to end the inning.
After two, the game was tied at two.
Dan Haren completed a three up, three down third inning. Haren made 43 pitches, 31 for strikes, in three innings.
Anthony Rizzo broke the tie game with his 25th longball of the season. A solo, wind-aided homer to left with one out gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead.
Bryant lined out to center and Montero grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 3-2 lead after three innings.
With the Cubs nursing a one-run lead, Dan Haren struck out Williams Perez swinging for the first out in the fifth. Nick Markakis reached on a ground rule double to left. The ball hit on the line and hopped into the stands. Cameron Maybin lashed a single to right over Rizzo. Markakis held at third with one out. Maddon decided that would be all for Haren and went to his pen for Travis Wood.
Freddie Freeman smoked a 2-2 pitch off the center field door. Markakis scored and tied the game at three. A.J. Pierzynski singled to center off the glove of a diving Chris Coghlan. Maybin and Freeman scored, 5-3 Braves. Wood struck out Garcia swinging for the second out.
Nick Swisher smacked a 1-0 pitch off the LED board in left. After the umps huddled and confirmed it was a home run, the Braves took a 7-3 lead on the second, two-run homer of the game from Swisher. Peterson grounded out to short to finally end the inning.
Dexter Fowler led off the fifth with a single to right. Kyle Schwarber flied out to deep left center as the Cubs continued making hard contact off Williams Perez. Coghlan walked. Rizzo lined out to deep left center.
Kris Bryant stepped in with runners on first and second and two down. Bryant pulled a 0-1 pitch into the left field corner. Fowler and Coghlan scored and trimmed the Braves lead to 7-5.
Miguel Montero followed and pulled a 3-2 pitch into right. Bryant scored as Montero hustled to second with a double. With the Braves lead down to 7-6, Fredi Gonzalez replaced Perez with Peter Moylan. Soler fouled out to Freeman to end the inning.
The Braves had a 7-6 lead after five innings.
Travis Wood stayed in for the sixth and gave up another hit, a single to Simmons. When Jonny Gomes was announced as the pinch-hitter for Moylan, Maddon made the slow walk and called in Tommy Hunter. Gomes struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Simmons was running with the pitch and made it all the way to third when Montero’s throw ended up in center field. Nick Markakis flied out to right. Simmons tagged and made it halfway down the line. Soler’s strong throw to the plate kept him from trying to score. Maybin lined out to center for the third out.
Lefty Matt Marksberry started the sixth for the Braves and struck out pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia on three pitches.
Addison Russell drove the southpaw’s first pitch to deep center. The ball kept drifting and hit a fan leaning over the basket trying to catch a souvenir. Russell circled the bases. The umps had to take another look to make sure it was indeed a home run and the fan did not reach out into the field of play. After further review, Addison Russell’s ninth homer of the season tied the game at seven.
Dexter Fowler struck out swinging and Kyle Schwarber struck out looking to end the inning.
The game was tied at seven after six innings.
Clayton Richard pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning and Pedro Strop pitched around a two out double by Andrelton Simmons in the eighth. The game went to the bottom of the eighth still tied at seven.
Edwin Jackson stayed in for the eighth after retiring Kris Bryant on a liner to third for the last out in the seventh.
Miguel Montero lifted a 1-2 pitch into the wind, the ball ended up in the basket in left center and the Cubs took an 8-7 lead. Montero did not have a chance to catch his breath before Jorge Soler hit a towering homer into the basket in left. The Cubs hit back-to-back jacks and took a 9-7 lead.
Jonathan Herrera batted for Strop and flied out to right center. Russell smoked a 1-2 pitch right to Ciriaco at third and Fowler flied out to left to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 9-7 lead into the ninth.
Hector Rondon picked up the last three outs of the game on six pitches … Cubs win.
Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Matt Wisler on Sunday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) in the series and season-series finale with the Braves.