After dropping Tuesday’s opener with little offensive output, the Cubs put together some quality at-bats early to hang three runs on the board. Nick Madrigal got the scoring started with a grounder to second that drove in Patrick Wisdom to take an early 1-0 lead. Seiya Suzuki worked a 10-pitch AB that resulted in an RBI double, then he scored on an Ian Happ sacrifice fly.
Mark Leiter Jr. turned in two scoreless innings, but he registered 20 pitches in each and made an early exit. Keegan Thompson continues to be a multi-inning weapon for David Ross as he went three while giving up one run and adding three strikeouts. His era now stands at 0.54 after that single tally.
The Cubs had at least one runner on base each inning from the 4th-8th but were unable to extend their 3-1 lead. After retiring the first two batters he faced in the 8th on strikeouts, things started to unravel for Mychal Givens as the next three hitters reached base on two singles and a walk. And just when it looked like he might escape the inning with no damage, Dansby Swanson slapped a two-run single to tie the game.
The Cubs took the lead back in the 10th on a Contreras double that scored Manfred Man Ian Happ from second, though that slim margin didn’t feel safe with the Braves getting their own runner in scoring position to start the bottom of the frame. When Patrick Wisdom walloped a full-count fastball into the stands in center, however, the outcome felt like it was in hand.
Why the Cubs Won
They sandwiched six scoreless innings with three early and three late to fly the W. It was a rare combination of their high-contact approach and a flash of power, just what someone else here at CI was lamenting earlier in the day.
David Robertson retired all four Braves hitters he faced to end the rally in the 8th and then get the game to extras. Contreras and Wisdom were then able to drive in three runs in the 10th on a pair of big extra base hits to secure the victory.
Stats That Matter
- The Cubs got at least one hit from every member of the starting lineup
- Every Cubs pitcher other than Leiter had at least one strikeout (12 total)
- Both Scott Effross and Chris Martin were credited with holds for pitching perfect relief innings
- That Contreras double left his bat at 111.6 mph
If this offense can continue to grind out at-bats and display just a little bit more power, the Cubs will continue to be a tough matchup each night.