Adbert Alzolay (0-2, 5.40 ERA) took the mound against Bryse Wilson (1-1, 5.00 ERA) looking to build off his solid outing verses the Brewers on April 24. After Anthony Rizzo was robbed of extra bases by Ronald Acuña Jr., the Cubs jumped on Wilson in the 1st with three consecutive singles to take a 1-0 lead. The visitors doubled their advantage later in the inning when Wilson lost his footing while delivering a pitch, resulting in a balk that allowed Matt Duffy to score.
Two innings later, Duffy drew a base on balls and moved into scoring position after a Kris Bryant double. Duffy then scored his second run of the night thanks to a sacrifice fly from Javier Báez, followed by a two-bagger from Jason Heyward that gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
Alzolay was flat-out dominant through 3.2 innings, allowing no runs on one hit and one walk with five strikeouts. With two outs in the 4th, he yielded Atlanta’s first run of the night courtesy of an RBI single by Austin Riley. To his credit, Alzolay regrouped by striking out Guillermo Heredia to end the inning, limiting the damage to only one.
The Cubs got the run right back in the 5th when Baez led off the inning with a triple and scored on Heyward’s second double of the night. Nico Hoerner‘s bloop single brought Heyward home and the visitors found themselves up by a score of a 6-1.
Marcell Ozuna‘s 6th-inning leadoff bomb to the upper deck in left field accounted for Atlanta’s second run of the night but Alzolay shook it off and retired the next three batters with relative ease. He was pulled after six, allowing two earned runs on four hits and one walk with six strikeouts.
The Cubs answered once again in the top of the 7th with a Jake Marisnick homer that restored their five-run cushion, then added another for good measure as they enjoyed an 8-2 lead. Atlanta pushed back in the bottom of the frame to make it 8-3, but Andrew Chafin came in to retire the side and that was as close as the home team would get. The Cubs tacked on another run in the 9th, winning by a final of 9-3. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
A great start from the future ace of their rotation and plenty of offense resulted in tonight’s victory.
The Braves were able to put runs on the board in the 4th and 6th innings, but Alzolay showed impressive composure by bouncing back each time to avoid big innings.
Stats That Matter
- Alzolay has the highest strikeout percentage of any Cubs starter this year (28%)
- Hoerner continues to impress, going 2-for-4 with one RBI
- In nine appearances, Craig Kimbrel has allowed only one hit and has yet to give up a run
It’s been amazing to see Alzolay’s development. His stuff is electric and he’s improved statistically with every start. It was also an encouraging sign to witness the offense come out of hibernation as the team avoided being swept.
The Cubs travel to Cincinnati Friday to open a three-game series against the Reds as Jake Arrieta (3-2, 2.57 ERA) squares off against Wade Miley (2-2, 2.45 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:10pm CT on Marquee, MLB Network, and 670 The Score.