June 27, 2019 / 9:53 PM / in 23 days

Kimbrel debuts with a save as Cubs beat Braves

EditorsNote: Deletes “Freddie” in 9th graf; other tweaks

Jun 26, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Nascar driver Ryan Blaney prepares to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Closer Craig Kimbrel shut down the visiting Atlanta Braves in his Chicago debut as the Cubs earned a 9-7, come-from-behind win for a split of the four-game series between the division-leading clubs.

Kimbrel, signed on June 7 to a three-year, $43 million contract after he sat in free agency through the offseason and beyond, allowed a two-out double to Ronald Acuna Jr. and walked Dansby Swanson. He retired Freddie Freeman on a sharp grounder to first base to end the game and earn his 334th career save.

The Cubs were trailing 6-1 when they scored three times in the fourth inning and four times in the fifth, the go-ahead runs coming on a two-run home run from backup catcher Victor Caratini.

Jason Heyward led Chicago’s 10-hit attack by going 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs.

Chicago starter Tyler Chatwood (4-1) got the win despite being tagged for six runs on six hits and four walks over five innings. He struck out five.

Atlanta recalled Bryse Wilson from Triple-A Gwinnett to make the start in place of recently demoted Mike Foltynewicz. Wilson pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits and one walk. He fanned six.

The losing pitcher was Josh Tomlin (1-1), who allowed three runs (two earned) in 2 2/3 innings.

Chicago opened the scoring when Kyle Schwarber led off the bottom of the first with a home run, his 17th. Atlanta tied it in the second on Ozzie Albies’ RBI single.

The Braves scored three times in the third on an RBI double by Swanson and a two-run, opposite-field homer by Freeman, his 22nd. Atlanta scored two more times in the fourth on Swanson’s two-run single for a 6-1 lead.

The Cubs scored three times in the fourth inning on Heyward’s two-run single and a wild pitch.

Chicago went ahead for good with four runs in the fifth. Anthony Rizzo doubled in a run and scored on Heyward’s triple. That set up Caratini’s second homer of the year, which gave the Cubs an 8-6 lead.

Albies hit a solo homer in the sixth, his 13th, but the Cubs answered in the bottom half when Daniel Descalso scored on a passed ball.

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