Julio Teheran's seven strong innings of work held the Cubs completely at bay, and despite the fact that the bullpen had a bit of a shaky outing, the Braves were able to scrape together four runs in order to pick up an unlikely 4-3 win in extras.
Teheran started off the game strong and just kept on going throughout his seven innings of work. He only gave up two hits throughout and struck out nine. One of the big knocks on Teheran as a pitcher has been the fact that his velocity tends to take a dip during cold-weather games. That certainly wasn't the case today, as his fastball was regularly in the low-mid 90s and his command was solid throughout the game.
It was going to take a great effort for Teheran top his performance this past Monday against the Red Sox, but Julio was clearly up for the challenge of facing off against Chicago's dangerous offense and did a good job of holding them at bay.
Meanwhile, the Braves offense was able to dink-and-dunk their way to success against John Lackey. The Cubs' veteran right-hander went eight innings and only gave up three hits while walking only three batters, but the mistakes that he and the defense behind him made costly. Thanks to a fifth-inning sacrifice fly from Jace Peterson, the Braves were able to cash-in a leadoff double from Kelly Johnson to break the scoreless deadlock.
In the very next inning, the Braves managed to load the bases with only one out. They did end up scoring two runs, but they came in such a roundabout manner -- but with this offense, you can't really complain about how the runs come. Adonis Garcia hit what should've been a double play ball straight at Addison Russell, but Russell booted the ball and that allowed Mallex Smith to score. While Garcia managed to avoid the dreaded double play, Kelly Johnson did just that on the very next at-bat. However, Garcia was able to extend the play by getting into a rundown, and he was able to avoid the Cubs' infielders long enough to allow Nick Markakis to score. That made it 3-0, and Teheran's solid pitching kept Chicago off of the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, as soon as this game was put into the hands of the bullpen, things got shaky for Atlanta. Jim Johnson entered the game in the eighth inning, and things started innocently enough when Chicago's grand slam hero from Friday afternoon Matt Szczur hit a leadoff bunt single. Dexter Fowler followed that up with a double, and that was the end of Jim Johnson for the day. Hunter Cervenka entered, and Jason Heyward was able to hit a grounder that brought in Szczur to put the Braves on the board. That's when Arodys Vizcaino entered the game, and while he did give up a double to Kris Bryant to make it 3-2, he did manage to escape the eighth inning with the lead. The four-out save was seemingly on, at that point.
If there's one thing that we've learned from this Braves team, it's that wins are going to be very difficult to come by, and that was the case today. Vizcaino was unable to get the four-out save, and the biggest moment in the bottom of the ninth happened when a pickoff throw by Vizcaino went horribly awry, and Ben Zobrist was able to make it all the way to third base. Addison Russell made up for his costly error by hitting an RBI single to tie the game at 3. Vizcaino escaped the inning without giving up anything else, but Teheran's solid performance ended up being in vain as the game went to extras.
In the top of the 10th, the Braves offense came alive long enough to string together enough hits to score a run. Daniel Castro got on with a one-out single, and then he made it to third base thanks to a successful hit-and-run with Mallex Smith at bat. That brought Nick Markakis to the plate with the go-ahead run in scoring position, and he continued in his dependable ways this season by delivering a sacrifice fly that put the Braves ahead once again.
The Braves gave the ball to Jason Grilli in the bottom half of the inning, and while things did get a little wobbly following a two-out walk of Kris Bryant, Grilli was able to close it out by getting Anthony Rizzo to fly out to left field. Just like that, the Braves managed to get out of Wrigley Field with a split of a rain-shortened series against one of the best teams in baseball, and they'll be heading to New York on a positive note after a pretty scrappy victory.