Cubs’ offense comes alive vs. Braves to avoid sweep

Javier Assad threw six scoreless innings and the visiting Chicago Cubs salvaged a game in their three-game series by beating the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Wednesday.

Assad (4-0) allowed four hits and one walk and struck out seven. It was his 14th straight outing in which he has allowed two runs or fewer, a streak that dates back to Sept. 19, 2023.

After being shut out in back-to-back games, the Cubs scored three times in the first inning, breaking Atlanta’s streak of 30 scoreless innings at home. Chicago finished with 13 hits.

Mike Tauchman hit the first pitch of the game over the left field wall for his fourth homer of the year. The Cubs scored another run on Christopher Morel’s fielder’s-choice grounder, then went up 3-0 when Pete Crow-Armstrong was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Atlanta starter Charlie Morton (3-1) worked only three innings, the first time this season he failed to carry a game into the sixth. Morton allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits to go along with three walks and four strikeouts.

The Cubs upped the lead to 4-0 in the third after Miles Mastrobuoni walked and eventually scored when Morton threw wildly to first base in an attempt to pick off Nick Madrigal.

Chicago added a run in the fifth off reliever Ray Kerr, as Michael Busch scored on Crow-Armstrong’s drag bunt.

Atlanta got a run off reliever Ben Brown in the seventh on Zack Short’s run-scoring double, but the Cubs answered with two runs in the eighth. Crow-Armstrong tripled and came home on Yan Gomes’ sacrifice fly, and Seiya Suzuki hit a solo shot.

Atlanta was without starting third baseman Austin Riley for the third straight game due to tightness in his side, and manager Brian Snitker gave Ronald Acuna Jr. the night off.