The Braves took an early and commanding lead to give them the win in last night's contest.
The Atlanta Braves showed that they mean business when they acquired left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel in free agency. Keuchel made his second start in a Braves uniform under the lights at the friendly confines on Wednesday night. Yu Darvish (2-4, 4.98 ERA) took the mound for the Chicago Cubs opposing Kuechel. Darvish struggled early and never got into a good rhythm. Kuechel, though not unscathed, pitched relatively well, allowing only 3 earned runs over 5.2 innings.
The Braves opened the scoring early in this one with a first-inning run on a wild pitch that allowed Ronald Acuna Jr. to score from third.
In the top of the second on a 2-2 count, Brian McCann belted a solo home-run of the right-field video board to double the Atlanta lead.
In the top of the third inning, the Braves busted it wide open when Nick Markakis hit a devastating 3-run home run into the center-field basket to make it 5-0 Braves.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Cubs got on the board thanks to a Wilson Contreras. He handled a challenge fastball on a 2-0 count and deposited it into the left-field bleachers to make the score 5-1 Braves.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kris Bryant followed Wilson Contreras's lead and blasted on a 1-0 pitch off the bottom of the left field video board to pull the Cubs within three.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jason Heyward cut the deficit down to two runs on an RBI groundout that plated Wilson Contreras.
Unfortunately, it was not enough to win this one. The Cubs now sit at 43-36 on the season, missing out on another opportunity to gain ground in the division as Milwaukee also lost last night. Here is a look at the current NL Central standings:
Player of the Game
Although the Cubs didn't have a lot going in this one, there was still one player that stood out. Willson Contreras went 2-3 with a home run, a triple, and a walk. Contreras has a monster season going and is currently leading as a starter for the All-Star game in Cleveland.
The Cubs will try to salvage a series split as they have done all homestand. They will go up against struggling Braves starter Bryce Wilson (0-0, 8.31 ERA). On the Cubs side, Tyler Chatwood (3-1, 3.69 ERA) will toe the rubber. The Cubs are currently working with a six-man rotation as Kyle Hendricks remains on the IL. The bullpen will get a huge boost as coveted closer Craig Kimbrel is set to join the team for today's game.
The Cubs should have a good chance to Fly The W in the series finale.
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