ATLANTA (AP) — A breakout game by the Chicago Cubs’ hitters provided the perfect setting for Adbert Alzolay’s longest start of his young career.
Jason Heyward drove in two runs with two hits and the Cubs emerged from their hitting slump to beat the Atlanta Braves 9-3 on Thursday night, ending their five-game losing streak.
The Cubs had 16 hits, topping their combined total of 13 in the first three games of the series. Jake Marisnick hit a homer in the seventh and every Chicago starter had at least one hit.
Alzolay (1-2) allowed two runs on four hits and had six strikeouts in six innings. It was the longest of 10 career starts for the right-hander.
“We haven’t been as good as everyone expected as starting pitchers but tonight I felt it was good for the team that I went out there and I gave the team six innings,” Alzolay said.
Cubs manager David Ross said the big night from his hitters made it easier to trust Alzolay for the sixth inning.
“It was nice, especially letting him work through that last inning, when you have some run support and some cushion there,” Ross said.
Matt Duffy, hitting third, reached base four times on two hits and two walks. He scored two runs and drove in a run.
“I honestly just feel like I’ve got to find a way to get on base,” Duffy said. “If I can do that often with those guys around me, I feel like good things are going to happen.”
Following 5-0 and 10-0 losses the previous two nights, Chicago found its offense and avoided a four-game sweep. The Cubs ended a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings with two runs in the first.
Kris Bryant had a run-scoring single in the first. Duffy, who singled, scored from third on a balk by Bryse Wilson (1-2). Anthony Rizzo had three hits.
Wilson, pitching on three days rest, gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings.
Marcell Ozuna led off the sixth by lining a homer 479 feet over the Cubs’ bullpen behind the left-field wall.
Ronald Acuña Jr. drove in a run with a seventh-inning single off Ryan Tepera. With left-hander Andrew Chafin on the mound, Freddie Freeman hit into a double play to end the inning.