Cubs unable to complete comeback against Braves in close loss

by - Senior Writer -
Willson Contreras came up with two pivotal extra-base hits that highlighted the Cubs' comeback efforts. (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)
Willson Contreras came up with two pivotal extra-base hits that highlighted the Cubs' comeback efforts. (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Despite going on a 3-0 run to close out the game after falling down 5-0, the Chicago Cubs (43-37) were unable to complete the comeback against the Atlanta Braves (48-33) on Wednesday night. The contest featured a 45-minute rain delay that seemed to incite the Cubs, as they tabbed three critical extra-base hits following the intermission to make a game out of it. All in all, Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish's early-inning struggles on the mound proved to be too much for the Cubs to overcome, as they lost 5-3 in the third installment of the 4-game series at Wrigley Field.

Darvish gave up five runs through the first three frames in his 5-inning start. Although he struck out eight, Darvish gave up a pair of costly homers and was ultimately handed the losing decision. A series of defensive mistakes made by the Cubs resulted in the Braves going up 1-0 in the top of the first. Following a leadoff walk of Ronald Acuna Jr., Cubs catcher Willson Contreras committed a throwing error on an Acuna steal attempt. Not long after that, a wild pitch by Darvish, which could have easily been scored as a passed ball by Contreras, ushered Acuna home from third base.

At the plate, the Cubs went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and grounded into two double plays. Chicago accrued 10 hits on the evening, which exceeded the seven hits compiled by Atlanta, but a couple of solo home runs and a triple proved to be the only hits of any import for the Cubs. The Braves went up 2-0 on a 397-foot home run driven out to right field by Brian McCann in the top of the second, with the tater plowing the Wrigley Field scoreboard. In the ensuing inning, Nick Markakis went yard for the Braves, with his 411-foot 3-run blast to center making the score 5-0.

Soon afterward, a weather delay commenced with a squall nearing in the top of the fourth. After the brief thunderstorm blew over, play resumed approximately 45 minutes following the beginning of the delay, and the Cubs were essentially given new life on offense. Prior to the fourth inning, Braves starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel pitched a gem, but he threw several bad pitches that culminated in the Cubs tacking on three runs before he was pulled with 5 2/3 innings of work under his belt.

In the fourth, Contreras garnered his sixth RBI of the series with a moonshot that was skied off the bat to left. The 377-foot solo dinger hit by Contreras was answered by a monstrous 429-foot round-tripper smashed out to left by Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant in the next frame. Bryant pummeled a cutter thrown by Keuchel, sending it sailing into the bottom of the left-field video board. Contreras remained hot at the plate in the sixth, as he tallied his first triple of the season on a shot that caromed off the top of the wall in right field. Contreras was scored thereafter on an RBI groundout hit by right fielder Jason Heyward, which pulled the Cubs to within two runs of the Braves.

Once Keuchel was yanked from the game, the Cubs cooled off at the plate, but they were presented with one last legitimate opportunity to do away with their deficit in the bottom of the eighth. Boasting runners on first and second with one out, the Cubs were unable to convert the scoring chance into runs, as they suffered back-to-back swinging strikeouts to end the inning. The second of the two strikeouts came with pinch hitter Victor Caratini at the dish. In the midst of Caratini's at-bat, a wild pitch advanced the baserunners to second and third, meaning that Caratini missed out on a potential game-tying hit. As a result of the 5-3 loss, the Cubs will need to defeat the Braves in Thursday's series finale in order to avoid dropping their final home series before they embark on a 9-game road trip that will carry them into the All-Star break.

Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs
Jun 26, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta (48-33) 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 7 0
Chicago (43-37) 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 3 10 2
W: Dallas Keuchel (1-1) L: Yu Darvish (2-4) S: A.J. Minter (4)

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