Max Fried and the Atlanta Braves blanked the red-hot Chicago Cubs on Friday, taking game one by a final score of 8-0. With Bryce Elder on the mound for the Braves and Javier Assad for the Cubs, game two of the series got off to a rocky start.
In the bottom of the 1st inning, Braves starter Bryce Elder walked the first two batters he faced. Both runners advanced on a weak ground ball to first base.
Cody Bellinger came to the plate with runners on first and second with one out and hit a hard ground ball Matt Olson could not handle and both runners scored, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Olson was charged with an error. Former Atlanta Brave Dansby Swanson followed that up with a 2-run home run, pushing the home team's advantage to 4-0.
Two batters later, Cub's third basemen Jeimer Candelario belted a solo shot of his own. The side was finally retired after Chicago put up 5 runs on only 2 hits.
The Braves were in a prime position in the top of the 2nd inning to cut into the deficit after back-to-back singles to start the inning. Atlanta only mustered one run on a sacrifice fly by Orlando Arcia.
Ozzie Albies added a solo homerun in the top of the 3rd inning to make the score 5-2.
Arcia then hit a sinking line drive that got past a sliding Ian Happ in left field. Rosario moved up to third on the Arcia double and Cubs starter Javier Assad was chased from the game.
Assad went 3.2 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks and striking out 3.
Chicago took advantage of the Braves wasting an opportunity in the top half of the inning with a Nick Madrigal RBI single, pushing the lead to 6-2. Elder was able to limit damage, leaving runners on second and third to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, Elder issued his third free pass of the game. That run would come around to score on a Christopher Morel bloop single. With the Cubs leading 7-2, Elder was removed from the game.
Elder who had been great away from Truist Park up until this point finished the day with 4.1 innings pitched, 7 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.
The Braves had a golden opportunity and utilized it to get back into the game in the top of the 6th inning. Cubs reliever Daniel Palencia walked three consecutive batters to load the bases for Michael Harris with 1 out in the inning. Palencia only made it 0.1 of an inning, throwing 21 total pitches and only 6 strikes.
Mark Leiter Jr. was called on for damage control. Harris brought home a run with a sacrifice fly that made the score 7-3. Ronald Acuna Jr. kept the inning alive with an RBI single and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Ozzie Albies.
Albies drew a walk on a high-leverage full-count pitch to reload the bases for Austin Riley. Leiter Jr. put together a phenomenal pitch sequence to strike out Riley and end the inning. A lot more damage could have been done but the Braves did cut the deficit back to three (7-4).
The Cubs were able to get one of those runs back on a solo home run from Ian Happ in the bottom of the 7th.
The Braves refused to go away. In the top of the 9th inning after Ozzie Albies flew out to lead off the inning, Austin Riley singled. Riley stole second base to eliminate the double-play possibility and Matt Olson launched yet another homerun. Olson's 38th homer of the season put the Braves within 2 but was not enough as 8-6 held to be the final.
Atlanta had every opportunity on Saturday to put themselves in a position to win but could never get over the hump. The Braves left a total of 9 runners on base and was a measly 2-10 with runners in scoring position.
The Cubs improve to 57-54 on the season. Atlanta still holds the best record in all of baseball at 70-38.
Pitchers of Record
W: Michael Fulmer (CHC): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's L: Bryce Elder (ATL): 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K's
Micahel Tonkin: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's
A. J. Minter: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Pierce Johnson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
ATL: Albies (25), Olson (38)
CHC: Swanson (17), Candelario (17), Happ (13)
8/6/2023 @ Chicago Cubs (ATL: Charlie Morton vs. CHC: Justin Steele)