Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (4/28/22): Braves 5, Cubs 1 – Bats Go Cold as Atlanta’s Homer Barrage Buries Visitors

Thursday’s rubber match offered the Cubs a chance at their first series win since they faced the Brewers to open the season, but it also gave the Braves a chance for their first series win of the season. The home team wasted little time getting to work as Austin Riley homered with two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning. It was on the first pitch he saw from Drew Smyly, part of an aggressive approach the Braves followed all evening.

Smyly had walked just one batter heading into this one and handed out only one free pass Thursday, so the Braves were clearly ready for him to pound the zone. While he was able to induce a lot of grounders, two flies left the yard and gave the home team all the offense they would need. Dansby Swanson hit the other dinger on a four-seamer that caught way too much of the plate.

With just three hits of their own, none in the same inning, the Cubs never really threatened. Their lone tally came when Alfonso Rivas, who had walked to lead off the 2nd and eventually advanced to third on another walk and a groundout, scored after Nico Hoerner was picked off. It just wasn’t a productive night in any sense.

The game remained tight through seven and a half innings because the Braves’ only scoring came on those solo shots, but a three-spot in the 8th more or less ended that. Ethan Roberts had the slider working right away but left a cutter up for Marcell Ozuna to smack a leadoff single. After an Ozzie Albies groundout, Travis d’Arnaud scooped a curve for a double to make it 3-1.

Adam Duvall then caught another cutter that hung out over the plate and took it out to left center for a 5-1 lead that felt much larger. Roberts got a pair of strikeouts to end the frame, but the damage was done and the Cubs went meekly in the top of the 9th. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Lost

They got nothing going against Braves starter Kyle Wright, who has been an ace this season. You can win when you only hit three singles, but it’s usually because you also hit home runs. The Cubs didn’t do the latter.

Key Moment

It felt like the Cubs might have had a chance to get something against Wrighty, who walked the first two batters in the 2nd inning. A strikeout, groundout, and pickoff ended that threat, though at least Hoerner stayed hung up long enough for the run to score. Baserunning has been something of a mystery this season and it’s yet another area in which the Cubs are giving away what precious little margin for error they hold.

Stats That Matter

Bottom Line

There are games like this in every season and this was one you could see coming a mile away based on the way Wright has been pitching. The Cubs simply couldn’t get past the hard-throwing righty, though they did get him to walk twice as many batters as he had in three previous starts combined.

On Deck

The Cubs now head to Milwaukee for three against the Brewers, who have won three in a row and sit in first place in the Central. Kyle Hendricks takes the mound against Adrian Houser in a game that starts at 7:10pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.

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