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Shelby, defense falter; Braves lose to Cubs 5-3

Some mistakes in the field, bad luck, and timely hitting from the Cubs led to the Braves' defeat Friday evening.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Shelby Miller struggled late in his start against the Cubs and, although the Braves did actually manage to score a few runs for him this time (emphasis on a few), the Braves still fell to the Cubs

Shelby Miller's winless streak was extended to 17 games despite a 2-hit, 2-RBI performance from Nick Markakis as well as actually being staked to a lead for a change. However, some bad luck and miscues in the field ultimately lead to the Braves' doom in this game.

The Braves got the scoring started early in the game with back-to-back singles to start the game and then an RBI fielder's choice by Freddie Freeman that scored Nick Markakis. The Braves couldn't score any more in the inning, but the lead was theirs for the moment. That is...until the bottom of the first inning. Shelby Miller got two quick strikeouts to start the game, but Chris Coghlan, after being down to his last strike, hit a solo homer to left to tie the game. The setback didn't seem to phase Shelby much, as he then got Rizzo to pop out to end the inning and then worked a quick 1-2-3 second inning as well.

The Braves were held at bay until the top of the fourth, where Nick Markais came through for the Braves with a 2-out, 2-run double that scored Andrelton Simmons and Pedro Ciriaco. One can only assume that Shelby Miller confused by this level of run support and had to ask for clarification from the scorekeeper. In his 25 starts for the Braves this season, he has gotten 3+ runs to work with a grand total of 9 times.

After being staked to an actual lead and being assured he in fact was awake, Shelby continued his dominance of the Cubs with 6 strikeouts through 4 innings of work. Shelby did, however, find himself in a bit of trouble in the 5th inning. After a throwing error by Pedro Ciriaco allowed a run to score and pull the Cubs within one run, the bases were loaded with one out. However, a 3-6-1 double play later and Shelby was out of a inning with the Braves still out in front 3-2.

Sadly, the wheels sort of came off a bit in the sixth for Shelby, however. After back-to-back RBI doubles by Kris Bryant and Miguel Montero, all of a sudden the Cub led 4-3 and Shelby was out of the game, extending his winless streak to 17 games. One of the those doubles basically summed up Shelby's luck of late, as the ball hit a door frame and bounced at a bizarre angle, preventing Michael Bourn from playing the ball effectively. The Cubs would add a run in the 7th on an RBI single from Anthony Rizzo after the runner made it to third due to Andrelton Simmons' first error since the middle of June.

The Braves' offense would not go quietly, as pinch hitter Nick Swisher hit a double in the top of the 9th and Cameron Maybin would draw a 2 out walk to bring up Freddie Freeman. However, it was not to be as Freeman would make the final out of the game, leaving two runners on base.

Source: FanGraphs

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