With two seventh-inning home runs and some clutch late hitting, the Atlanta Braves picked up a series-opening win against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.
With the win, Atlanta’s record jumps to 101-56 while the Cubs are now 82-75.
Chicago opened the scoring in the second inning with back-to-back RBI singles from Yan Gomes and Miles Mastrobuoni to jump out to a 2-0 lead. One inning later, a misplayed ball from Ronald Acuña Jr. led to a Seiya Suzuki two-run triple to extend the Cubs lead to 4-0. RBI singles from Cody Bellinger and Ian Happ would give Chicago a 6-0 lead after six innings.
Bryce Elder finished the evening pitching 3.2 innings allowing seven hits, five earned runs, while walking four batters. He’s allowed 13 earned runs over his last three starts.
The Atlanta offense started to chip away at the lead in the sixth inning, starting with Kevin Pillar hitting his ninth home runs of the year to put the Braves on the board. It’s the 300th home run of the season, putting Atlanta next to the 2019 Twins and Yankees as the only teams to reach that milestone.
A few batters later, Matt Olson extended his league lead in RBIs with a single to left, followed by a Marcell Ozuna double to trim the Cubs lead to three.
In the seventh inning, Acuña padded his MVP resume with his 41st home run, a two-run shot that squeezed over the wall in right to bring Atlanta within one run.
With runners on second and third and two outs in the eighth, Sean Murphy lifted a fly ball into right field. Instead of a third out, the ball dropped behind Suzuki to give Atlanta the lead, and ultimately the 7-6 win.
The win drops Atlanta’s magic number for homefield advantage through the NLCS to 1.
Braves and Cubs will continue their series on Wednesday night at 7:20 p.m. ET.