August 10, 2022

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Wisdom's mammoth HR caps 'big team win'

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Contreras plates go-ahead run in 10th after bullpen picks up Leiter
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ATLANTA — A pair of W’s drove in the game-winning runs to secure the Cubs’ first extra-inning victory of the season.

Willson Contreras’ RBI double plated the automatic runner to start the 10th inning and Patrick Wisdom provided breathing room with a two-run homer as the Cubs pulled out a 6-3 win over the Braves on Wednesday night at Truist Park.

Here are three takeaways from the North Siders’ first victory since scoring a franchise-record 21 runs against Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Extra innings are extra fun
After Atlanta posted two runs in the eighth and both teams went scoreless in the ninth, Chicago faced its first extra-innings opportunity of the season.

Contreras entered the 10th 0-for-3 with a walk on the night, but with Ian Happ starting the inning in scoring position, Contreras doubled off the left-field wall to plate the go-ahead run. Wisdom gave the Cubs two insurance runs with a 434-foot home run that had an exit velocity of 105.8 mph, according to Statcast.

“It was nice that [Contreras] already drove in that run, so we already had the lead. And so for me, I was just trying to get that guy in and stay in the middle of the field,” Wisdom said.

Bullpen deals with lengthy task
Mark Leiter Jr. needed 45 pitches to get through two innings in his shortest start since July 31, 2016. The 31-year-old is still searching for his first win since Sept. 9, 2017. 

“[He] gave us two good innings. He’s been pretty good for the first two, three innings of his outings. Towards the third inning is where things just start to tick down,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “I think you read and react, but I was expecting six to nine outs from him, trying to get six to nine outs from him.”

The bullpen was able to keep the Braves’ offense in check through the seventh inning, giving up a single run during that span. Keegan Thompson took over for Leiter and had the longest stretch, pitching three innings and allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out three.

“Keegan, the value that he brings in — you know, it’s almost kind of like a semi-opener type presentation we had today,” Ross said. “And it worked out really nicely.”

Mychal Givens came on for the eighth inning and recorded only two outs while giving up three hits, including Dansby Swanson’s game-tying two-run single. Veteran reliever David Robertson escaped the jam in the eighth and turned in a scoreless ninth to earn his first win since Sept. 4, 2018, and Rowan Wick pitched the 10th to pick up his first save of the season.

“I feel like today was a big team win,” Wick said. “Everyone contributed, and that was really good to see.”

Suzuki and Happ give Cubs two-three punch
Seiya Suzuki and Happ combined to go 3-for-7 and continue to be a force in the lineup.

After starting the season 12-for-29 (.414) with 11 RBIs and four home runs, Suzuki had a hit in five of his last 28 at-bats heading into Wednesday. He finished 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. He is currently ranked No. 3 in the Majors, behind Mike Trout and Eric Hosmer, for OBP (.458) and No. 5 for OPS (1.090).

As for Happ, a walk in his first plate appearance pushed his on-base streak to nine games. He extended his hit streak to four games with a single in the fifth.

“We’re making guys work, make the opposing pitcher work. I think it’s really been a signature of ours for the short part of this season,” Ross said. “We’re ready to hit in the zone, and we want to be able to hit our pitches and not swing at borderline pitches. And the guys are doing a really nice job with that so far.”

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