Cubs top Braves for fourth straight victory
CHICAGO -- Right-hander Kyle Hendricks allowed two runs on five hits over an efficient 6 2/3 innings as the Chicago Cubs extended their winning streak to four with a 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
The win was the second straight and fourth consecutive quality start as Hendricks (6-4) improved to 2-1 since returning from disabled list in late July.
Jon Jay went 4-for-5 with a triple and two runs scored while Kris Bryant was 2-for-5 with a two-run home run.
In the wake of Wednesday's 8-for-10 day in Philadelphia, Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte was a more modest 1-for-4 with a double. Right fielder Nick Markakis and second baseman Ozzie Albies each had two hits.
Braves starter Sean Newcomb (2-8) worked five innings in a losing effort, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits. He walked three, struck out seven and threw 101 pitches.
Bryant slugged his 25th home run of the season with one out in the sixth off Braves reliever Jason Motte. The two-run homer scored Ben Zobrist and extended the Cubs lead to 5-1.
Rizzo then nearly matched Bryant's shot, but his long drive to deep center stayed in the park on a breezy night with wind blowing in.
Bryant became the first player in franchise history with 25 or more homers in each of his first three seasons.
Atlanta's Lane Adams clubbed a pinch-hit homer to left to trim Chicago's lead back to three runs and ended Hendricks' night.
Hendricks threw 99 pitches while walking three and striking out five.
The Cubs added a sixth run in the eighth as Jay tripled to left to lead off and scored on Zobrist's single to right.
Anthony Rizzo gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead with a fielder's choice grounder to second that drove in Jon Jay from third base. Javier Baez followed with a two-out base hit to right to bring in Bryant from third for a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the third inning after Jace Peterson bobbled an Ian Happ grounder for an error on what would have been the final out. Newcomb then walked catcher Rene Rivera to bring home Rizzo for a 3-0 lead.
Newcomb got out of the inning by striking out Hendricks.
Jay singled to open the Cubs' fourth and eventually reached third after a Ben Zobrist sacrifice and a Bryant ground out. But the threat ended as Rizzo lined out to center.
The Braves broke through in the fifth as Dansby Swanson reached on a Zobrist error and moved to third on Newcomb's sacrifice and Inciarte's ground out. He came home on Albies' two-out RBI single to center.
The weekend series is the second series between Chicago and Atlanta this season. The Cubs swept three games from July 17-19 at SunTrust Park.
NOTES: Braves 2B Brandon Phillips was a late scratch Thursday amid reports of a potential trade to Anaheim. Phillips recorded his 2,000th career hit Wednesday with a first inning single in the opening game of a doubleheader at Philadelphia. ... Atlanta sends RHP Mike Foltynewicz (10-10, 4.84 ERA) against Cubs right-hander John Lackey (10-10, 4.98 ERA) on Friday. ... Cubs LHP Jon Lester is expected to come off the disabled list Saturday and is scheduled to start in the series' third game. ... SS Addison Russell, on the disabled list with a right foot strain, had an MRI on Thursday but results were not immediately available. ... The city of Chicago has approved a one-time exemption against Friday night games at Wrigley Field and will allow the Cubs to play a Sept. 8 night game against the Brewers. ... Of Chicago's 29 remaining games, 23 are against teams with records at or below .500.