Julio Teheran walked the tightrope for his first four innings, then the wheels came off in a five-run fifth inning that was ultimately his undoing. All told, he allowed seven runs with nine hits, three walks, and two strikeouts. Not exactly the bounceback start he was looking for after last week’s dud against the Mets. He struggled with his command all night, and worked around baserunners in four of the five innings in which he pitched.
Tempers were on display during the second inning. After Willson Contreras hit an opposite field home run, he started chirping at Tyler Flowers, then shouted and gestured into the Braves’ dugout as he rounded the first base bag. When he finished rounding the bases, he and Flowers continued jawing at each other to the point both dugouts eventually cleared. No punches were thrown, but the tense interaction set the tone for the evening.
The Braves were unable to establish any momentum against Jon Lester, and they were not without their chances. They had a good opportunity to bust through in the fourth, as Ronald Acuña, Jr. singled and stole second, but was left stranded there. In the fifth, consecutive hits from Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies put runners at the corners with one out, but they were not able to push either across.
Contreras pushed a run home in the fourth inning to make it a 2-0 Cubs game, but the following inning is where everything fell apart for Julio. Without recording an out, Teheran allowed five consecutive batters to reach base - three of which came around to score while he was still in the game, and the other two after he left - and put the Braves in a 7-0 hole. Chad Sobotka came on to put out the fire, and worked two clean innings in the process. It was a successful return outing for Sobotka.
Nick Markakis got the Braves on board with a two-run single in the sixth inning, making it 7-2. In the top of the eighth, Dansby Swanson brought the Braves one run closer with his 15th home run of the year - a new career high. Old friend Jason Heyward homered off Touki Toussaint in the bottom of the eighth to stretch the score to 8-3.
These two teams will meet again tomorrow night at 8:05pm ET.