Preston Tucker Hits 3 Run Homer as Atlanta Beats the Cubs 4-0
CHICAGO (AP) – Anibal Sanchez pitched three-hit ball over six innings, Preston Tucker backed him with a three-run homer and the Atlanta Braves spoiled Yu Darvish’s first home start for the Chicago Cubs with a 4-0 victory on Friday.
Sanchez struck out six and walked one. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 1.29 through two starts and three appearances after signing a minor league deal in mid-March.
Tucker delivered the big blow in the fifth when he drove a long homer to right, and the Braves did all of the scoring in the inning while chasing Darvish.
The four-time All-Star got tagged for four runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Darvish walked four and struck out four while throwing 105 pitches, and Chicago lost again after dropping two of three to the surging Pittsburgh Pirates.
Darvish’s first start at Wrigley Field with the Cubs was nothing like his previous performance at the famed old ballpark – a dominant victory for the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series last fall. Signed to a $126 million, six-year deal, he has struggled in two of his three outings for the Cubs.
He escaped several jams before the Braves broke through in the fifth, sending 10 batters to the plate.
Darvish gave up a double to Ozzie Albies, balked and bounced a pitch to Nick Markakis with two outs to bring home the first run. Six straight batters then reached base, starting with a single by Markakis.
After Kurt Suzuki doubled, Tucker hit a drive to right that ricocheted out of the ballpark.
Darvish threw 39 pitches in the inning and exited after walking Sanchez to load the bases. Brian Duensing then retired Ender Inciarte on a comebacker.
Braves: RHP Brandon McCarthy is on track to make his next start after dislocating his left shoulder at Washington on Wednesday. “He’s fine,” manager Brian Snitker said. … RHP Aaron Blair (right shoulder) is scheduled to be examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday. He left Wednesday’s start at Triple-A Gwinnett after injuring his arm. Blair made 15 starts for the Braves in 2016 and one last season.
Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said he thinks 1B Anthony Rizzo (back) will be ready to return from the 10-day disabled list when he is eligible against St. Louis on Monday. “He’s making great progress,” Maddon said. … CF Albert Almora was scratched because of an illness. Ian Happ started and led off in his place.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (1-1, 4.35 ERA) looks to build on a scoreless six-inning performance against Colorado on Sunday.
Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (1-1, 4.50) goes for back-to-back wins after throwing six scoreless innings at Milwaukee on Sunday.
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