La Stella crushes his former club as Cubs down Braves


by - Senior Writer -
Tommy La Stella picked an appropriate night to hit his first career pinch-hit home run. (Photo Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports)
Tommy La Stella picked an appropriate night to hit his first career pinch-hit home run. (Photo Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports)

ATLANTA — Capping off a six-game season series with the Atlanta Braves in winning fashion, the Chicago Cubs took care of business in a makeup game at SunTrust Park on Thursday. Winning 5-4 in a contest that was postponed due to rain back in the spring, the Cubs greatly benefited from a pinch-hit home run off the bat of a former Brave and made the most of their scoring opportunities.

Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after Ben Zobrist led off with a double. A balk by Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz put runners on second and third, which enabled Willson Contreras to then drive in Zobrist with an RBI groundout. Thereafter, Kyle Schwarber hit a grounder, and Jason Heyward opted to come home on it. Benefiting Heyward on the play was a bad throw by Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies, who was charged with an error.

Contreras picked up his second RBI of the night on a double to left that plated Anthony Rizzo in the top of the third. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who collected three RBI, began to chop away at the Cubs' lead in the bottom half of the inning with a bases-loaded single that scored Ronald Acuna Jr.

Not long after getting activated off the disabled list, Mike Montgomery started on the hill for the Cubs. He lasted 4.1 innings and gave up four runs on eight hits and one walk. The fifth inning proved disastrous for Montgomery and resulted in him being pulled from the game. After two straight singles to start the frame, Freeman batted his fourth triple of the year on a lined shot to deep center that allowed Acuna and Johan Camargo to touch the plate.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, Heyward was injured on the Freeman triple, as he laid out for an attempted diving catch in center field and hurt his leg on the fall. Heyward was forced to exit the game and was replaced by Albert Almora Jr. Following a pitching change, the Braves took their first lead of the contest by going up 4-3 on a sacrifice fly from Kurt Suzuki that ushered Freeman in to score.

Foltynewicz remained in the game for Atlanta in the top of the sixth and ultimately lost the game. Schwarber came up with a one-out base knock, which was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of pinch hitter Tommy La Stella. A former Brave, La Stella hushed the SunTrust Park crowd with his first career pinch-hit bomb.

The Braves remained scoreless the rest of the way. In fact, they failed to advance a runner into scoring position. An amazing sliding catch on the warning track by Almora to rob Lucas Duda of extra bases and end the sixth inning certainly helped matters. Despite getting outhit 9-6 by the Braves (74-59), the Cubs (79-54) came away with a 5-4 win to kick off an 11-game road trip and secure a 3-3 tie in their season series against Atlanta.

Foltynewicz received the loss to drop to 10-9 overall, and Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler earned the win to move to 2-3 on the year. In addition, three different Cubs relief pitchers were given holds, and Chicago closer Pedro Strop went three up, three down in the ninth for his 11th save.

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