The Braves entered Thursday night with their second opportunity this season to reach a winning record for the first time this season. Bryse Wilson was trusted with the task of keeping a struggling Cubs lineup quite. The Braves offense was hopefully going to remain focused on continuing its best stretch of offense so far this season.
Unfortunately, the Cubs had different plans.
Three straight singles and a balk allowed the Cubs to get out to an early 2-0 lead, despite an early Braves catch of the year candidate courtesy of Ronald Acuna Jr. to start of the game. The Braves had their chance to respond in the bottom of the second inning after a single and walk from Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson with one out. Unfortunately, they were unable to cash in the scoring opportunity.
The Cubs responded quickly by extending their lead to 4-0 via a walk, double, sacrifice fly, and single in the top of the third inning. This also ended day for Bryse Wilson, who certainly had hoped for a better performance. Over three innings, Wilson allowed seven hits, four earned runs, two walks and only one strikeout. While a few of the hits were certainly lucky and Wilson did not allow a home run, his has certainly struggled through his first three starts this season.
The Braves finally found some success in the bottom of the fourth inning with a double from Ozzie Albies and Swanson being hit by a pitch. Riley then continued his excellent production as of late to make the score 4-1 through four innings. However, the Cubs were ready and waiting to make with a response in the top of the fifth, as a triple by Javier Baez, a double by Jason Heyward (his second rbi of the evening), and a single from Nico Hoerner made the score 6-1.
Marcell-fie Time ⌚️ pic.twitter.com/B8czHv25NB— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) April 30, 2021
In the bottom of the sixth, Marcell Ozuna decided to get in on the fun with a 479-foot home run, his second home run in as many days. Hopefully, this is an indication that Ozuna is starting to get his stride going once again. This made the score 6-2. The Cubs were quick to respond once again, as Jake Marisnick and Matt Duffy added a solo home run and RBI single, respectively, to make the score 8-2.
The Braves tried to make things interesting in the bottom of the seventh inning, as after a Ronald Acuna Jr. RBI single, Freddie Freeman stepped to the plate with runners on first and second with one out. He proceeded to ground into a double play to end the threat.
The Cubs and Braves both were kept quiet in the eighth inning, but the Cubs decided to get right back to work in the top of the ninth inning. A single from Hoerner and Anthony Rizzo led to a run scoring on a Willson Contreras sacrifice fly to make the score 9-3. In the bottom of the ninth, Austin Riley walked but the Guillermo Heredia grounded into a double play. After Pablo Sandoval reached on a passed ball on strike 3, Acuna Jr. flied out to Heyward to end the game.
Though it was a disappointing night for Atlanta, the positive developments from this week so far make it easier to accept than other losses earlier in the year. Plus, another good night from Riley and Ozuna hopefully are further signs they are starting to ramp up their offensive production. Though Atlanta was certainly hoping for a better showing from Wilson, they have plenty to build on from this home stand as they head out on the road to face the Blue Jays this weekend.