Recap: Braves Lose 6-4 to the Cubs, Who Take 2 of 3 from Atlanta

After a great first game, the Braves struggle to capitalize, leaving many runners on base and giving 8 walks to the Cubs in Sunday's 6-4 loss
Matt Olson rounds the bases after a 453-foot 2-run homer in the second inning.
Matt Olson rounds the bases after a 453-foot 2-run homer in the second inning. / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

After a dominating first game by Max Fried and a close Cubs win on Saturday, the Braves looked to bounce back and win their 27th series of the season. In a potential pitching duel, Charlie Morton squared off vs. the streaking Justin Steele in the series finale.

Game Summary

In the top of the first, Ozzie Albies was the first to test the young Cubs pitcher, squaring up a single to left-center. After Austin Riley hit into a fielder choice, beating out the double play, Matt Olson walked to bring runners to first and second. Steele would get out of the jam, dealing a strike out to Travis d'Arnaud.

The Braves would strike first in the top of the third. Ronald Acuña Jr. would hit a single down the middle on the first pitch of the inning. While Albies struck out swinging, Acuña would steal his 52nd bag of the season. Matt Olson would eventually come to the plate with two outs and work the count full. Steele hung a slider, giving Olson his 39th homer of the season. The 453-ft shot to deep right center would be the Braves' 21st home run to go further than 450 feet, the most in the majors.

The Cubs would come right back in the bottom of the third to make things interesting. Morton, who had been dealing in the first two innings, found some traffic after giving a walk to Miguel Amaya and a single to Mike Tauchman. Morton would then hit Nico Hoerner with a pitch to load the bases and only one out. Ian Happ would come up to the plate, hitting a soft shot to Orlando Arcia. Scrambling to make a play, he put out the runner at second, and was a step away from completing the double play. Thus, the inning would go on, with Morton again walking the bases loaded and then walking Dansby Swanson to tie the game 2-2.

The top of the fifth was full of close plays. Acuña would hit a double down the right-field line with one out. Following the double, Albies would single to right field again, where Acuña would round third, only to be beat at home for the second out. Riley would reach on a Nick Madrigal throwing error, once again bringing up a red-hot Matt Olson. Continuing where he left off, Olson would single to left center, driving in Albies to make it 3-2 Braves.

The Cubs would remain pesky in the bottom of the fifth, as Tachman singled, then stole second on the next pitch. After a quick ground out, Ian Happ and Cody Bellinger hit back-to-back RBI shots, giving Chicago a 4-3 lead. Bellinger's double would be the end of the day for Morton, with Snitker calling on Collin McHugh to limit the damage. Arcia would make a great play on an awkward ground ball to get Swanson for the second out. However, Jermier Candelario would drive a hit to right center, bringing in Bellinger to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead.

For the third time this season, Morton did not make it out of the fifth inning. While he breezed through the first two innings and only gave up four hits, he struggled with walks and going into many deep counts. Morton would end up with 5 earned runs, 4 walks, and 4 strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

With the Cubs loading the bases twice, the Braves decided it was their turn to put some traffic on the base paths. Steele walked both Marcell Ozuna and Arcia to begin the sixth. Michael Harris II would then end Steele's day on a single to left center, loading the bases with one out. Cubs right-hand reliever, Michael Fulmer, would come in, hitting Acuña with a fastball, bringing home Ozuna to make it 5-4 Cubs. However, Fulmer would go on to strike out both Albies and Riley, in two long at-bats to stop the rally.

Joe Jiménez would give up his first earned run since July 15th on a Dansby Swanson double in the bottom of the seventh. While the former Brave had a slow first game of the series, he followed it up with 4 RBIs in the next two. Jiménez, throwing mainly sliders all inning, was able to get out of the seventh with the Cubs now ahead 6-4.

In the bottom of the eighth, d'Arnaud threw out Patrick Wisdom on an absolute hose to second. However, Kirby Yates would walk Hoerner on four pitches, where he would steal second on the next at-bat. Yates would get out of the inning unscathed, giving the Braves a chance to come back in the ninth.

To start the ninth, Albies came to the plate, smoking a double to the right field corner. However, that would be all the Braves could muster as Riley struck out (ending his ten-game hit streak) and a quick pop fly from Olson. The game ended on a soft ground out to short for d'Arnaud.

Overall, the Braves battled but were unable to capitalize on what was a crowded day in the base paths. The Braves would end up leaving ten runners on base, having many chances to tie up the score or take the lead. The pitchers collectively fell into many deep counts and were unable to consistently put out Cubs' batters. Atlanta gave up 8 walks, the most in a game this season.

Charlie Morton takes his 4th loss in a row, where he will be looking to get out of his slump next vs. the Mets. The Braves were able to put pressure on Steele, yet he was able to snag his 13th win on the season, continuing his dominating stretch.

The Braves end the series with a record of 70-39, while the Cubs move to 58-54. Around the division, the Phillies and Nationals both win easy games, while the Marlins get shut out on the road.

Pitchers of Record

W: Justin Steele (CHC): 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 7 K's L: Charlie Morton (ATL): 4.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K's

Braves Bullpen

Collin McHugh: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K's

Brad Hand: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Joe Jiménez: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Kirby Yates: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K

Homeruns

ATL: Olson (39)

Next Game

8/7/2023 @ Pittsburgh Pirates (ATL: Spencer Strider vs. PIT: Osvaldo Bido)