Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (6/24/19): Cubs 8, Braves 3 – Willson Contreras’ Home Run Causes Stir, Jon Lester Delivers

The Cubs jumped all over the Braves Monday night en route to an 8-3 win in the first of a four-game series. A solid outing from Jon Lester and a big inning off of Julio Teheran secured the W, but it wasn’t without some controversy.

The Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd when Willson Contreras blasted an opposite-field solo homer to right field. Just before Willy blasted his 16th homer of the season, it appeared that he and Braves catcher Tyler Flowers exchanged words. When Willson stepped on home, Flowers yelled something at him and both benches cleared. No punches were thrown and both teams were warned.

A single and a steal by Javy Báez led to a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning after Contreras drove Javy in with a base hit.

In the 5th inning, the North Siders broke the game open against Teheran by scoring 5 runs and increasing the lead to 7-0. Carlos Gonzáles walked and Lester singled to put the first two men on base. Kyle Schwarber ripped a double to the right-center gap to score CarGo. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo then each knocked in runs on RBI singles. Báez blooped a hustle double to score Bryant and bring the lead to 6-0. Contreras grounded out to score Rizzo for his third run batted in of the night. 7-0.

A big seven-run lead was more than enough run support for Lester. He was able to pitch around a jam in the 5th when he retired Flowers and Teheran to strand runners on the corners. A David Bote error, however, in the 6th set up a two-run single from Nick Markakis that cut the lead to 7-2.

Tony Barnett made his Cubs debut in the 8th and surrendered a Dansby Swanson home run. Kyle Ryan prevented further damage with a double play to end the inning. Jason Heyward hit a solo homer of his own in the bottom of the inning and Steve Cishek closed out the 8-3 win. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Won

After failing to come through with men on base earlier in the game, the Cubs strung together five straight hits in the fifth inning and extended a 2-0 lead to 7-0. It’s worth notice that the Cubs went to the opposite field on nearly all those hits, and none were home runs.

Key Moment

The Cubs only had a 2-0 lead when Austin Riley doubled and Ozzie Albies singled to put men on first and third with one out in the 5th. Lester then struck out Flowers and induced a ground out from the opposing pitcher to keep the Braves scoreless.

Stats That Matter

  • Big Jon was very sharp on Monday: 6 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 H, 7 K, and 0 BB. Oh and that base hit helped spark the big rally.
  • Contreras is really heating up at the plate the last week of the season. On a side note, I really don’t think Tyler Flowers wants any part of the Cubs backstop in a fight.
  • Heyward doubled and homered and has eight hits in his last three games. His homer total of 11 matches his career high as a Cub.

Bottom Line

The Cubs played a complete game against one of the hotter teams in baseball. After the recent sloppy play they’ve displayed of late, it was really fun to see a day like Monday.

On Deck

Game two of the series is Tuesday at 7:05 CT. Max Fried faces Adbert Alzolay, who is making his first career MLB start. NBC Sports Chicago Plus has the television coverage and 670 the Score has the radio feed.

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