For the second straight day in a row, the Cubs jumped all over the Braves' pitching staff and defense and eventually waltzed to a 13-2 victory over Atlanta on Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs got things going against John Gant in the very first frame, which is when Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI double to bring in Jason Heyward for Chicago’s first run of the day. The Braves fired right back in the bottom half of the frame by scoring a run thanks to some good baserunning and a botched throw from David Ross. With Chase d’Arnaud on second base and Freddie Freeman on first base, the Braves sent both runners and Ross threw the ball into center field. d’Arnaud scored, and the game was tied.
In the bottom of the second, the Braves were given a golden chance at taking the lead and putting more runs on the board against Jon Lester (2) than both the Phillies and Dodgers combined for in Lester’s previous two starts (1). Adonis Garcia led off the inning by grounding to second base and it should've been an easy out, but the Cubs managed to commit two throwing errors that resulted in Adonis eventually making it all the way to third base. However, Garcia was wiped off of the basepaths with one out when Erick Aybar hit a grounder and Garcia decided to try to take home for some reason. He was caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out, and then John Gant grounded out to end the inning.
From that point on, it was all Cubs. Chicago took the lead in the fourth inning following an ill-advised attempt from Nick Markakis at fielding a bloop single with his bare hand, and added onto that lead with a sacrifice bunt from Jon Lester that made it 3-1. John Gant left the game in the very next inning after 4.1 IP, five strikeouts, four hits allowed, four walks and two earned runs.
After Ian Krol managed to guide the Braves through the fifth inning without giving up any further runs, Casey Kelly entered for the next two innings, and that’s when the offensive avalanche for the Cubs began. They scored one run off of Kelly in the sixth inning, and then added two more thanks to a single from Anthony Rizzo and a double from Ben Zobrist. Alexi Ogando took the baton from Kelly in the seventh and he proceeded to walk David Ross in order to make it 7-1 Cubs.
Chris Withrow entered the game for the eighth inning, and the good news is that he started off the inning with a strikeout. The bad news is that the next six Cubs batters all reached base safely, and this six-run rally concluded with Javier Baez hitting a three-run homer to make it 13-1, with the game eventually ending 13-2.
While all of this was going on, Jon Lester finished the day with 7 IP, five hits allowed, seven strikeouts, and zero earned runs or walks. Granted, the Braves did have a chance to score more than the one solitary run that they did on Lester, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered given that the Cubs just went absolutely crazy on offense today. They scored a second run eventually, but it was inconsequential.
Normally, this would be the part where I tell you that the Braves can take solace in the fact that they won’t see the Cubs again this season, but they’ve still got to play one more game against them, and that’ll be next month at Wrigley Field. That should give the Braves plenty of time to recover from this particular beating.