ATLANTA — – Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and the Atlanta Braves woke up offensively after a grim doubleheader, overcoming a grand slam by Kris Bryant to beat the Chicago Cubs 8-7 Monday night.
The Braves were coming off two shutout losses to Arizona the previous afternoon – managing just a single hit over 14 innings. Madison Bumgarner held Atlanta without a hit in his seven-inning victory, though it did not qualify as an official no-hitter.
Eager to make up for that embarrassing performance, the Braves pounded Zach Davies for four runs and five hits in the very first inning. Travis d’Arnaud’s two-run single was the biggest blow.
The Cubs tied it on Bryant’s sixth career grand slam, a shot off Charlie Morton (2-1) that landed in the Chicago bullpen with two outs in the third.
But Freeman broke a 5-all tie with a mammoth, two-out shot of his own, driving one deep into the right-field seats against Brandon Workman (0-2).
The right-hander’s knees buckled when the reigning NL MVP made contact, while right fielder Jason Heyward barely moved as the ball sailed over his head.
Freeman got the Braves’ only hit Sunday, a single off Zac Gallen in the opener of the twinbill.
Dansby Swanson also homered for the Braves, a solo shot in the third.
Morton scraped out the win, despite surrendering five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Willson Contreras hit a two-run homer off Tyler Matzek in the seventh, but three Braves relievers combined to preserve the win. Will Smith worked around a walk in the ninth for his fifth save.
It was another rough outing for Davies, who has not made it past four innings in any of his last four starts.
He was lifted after just 3 2/3 innings against the Braves, having allowed six hits, five runs and four walks. Over his last 13 1/3 innings, the right-hander has surrendered 18 earned runs on 23 hits and 12 walks, raising his ERA to 9.47.
At least Davies had some success at the plate. He singled to left in the third, ensuring Bryant got to the plate with the bases loaded.
Cubs: SS Javier Báez was held out of the lineup with a sore hamstring. «We want to be cautious,» manager David Ross said. «It’s safer to give him a day off and reassess tomorrow.» … RHP Rowan Wick (left oblique strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list so Chicago could call up RHP Trevor Megill from the South Bend alternate site to replace struggling RHP Jason Adam. Wick’s progress has slowed as he rehabs from a lingering injury that cropped up in spring training. «Things were progressing really fast, but some abdominal stuff cropped back up,» Ross said. «So we slowed him down little bit.» … In another move, C Austin Romine went on the 10-day DL with a sprained left wrist. C Tony Wolters was called up from the alternate site.
Braves: LHP Max Fried (strained hamstring) threw off the mound before the game and is progressing toward a return to the Atlanta rotation. If he doesn’t have any setbacks, he’ll face hitters later in the week and likely rejoin the roster for next week’s series at Washington. «It’s just a matter of Max kind of checking the boxes and building him back up,» manager Brian Snitker said. … RHP Chris Martin (shoulder inflammation) also threw a side session before the game, though Snitker did not offer a timetable for his return.
The Braves will send RH Ian Anderson (1-0, 3.27 ERA) to the mound in the second game of the series against Cubs RH Trevor Williams (2-1, 4.66).
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