CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant had two home runs and the Chicago Cubs hit five total to slug their way to a 9-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, completing a sweep of the four-game series at Wrigley Field. Here’s a closer look at the game.
How it happened: With a sweep in sight, the Cubs didn’t waste any time jumping on Braves starter Matt Wisler. Leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler, batting left-handed, set the tone by rocketing the second pitch he saw into the left field bleachers for a 1-0 lead. With a runner on first two outs later, Bryant made it 3-0 by stroking the first pitch he saw into the right-field bleachers.
The Cubs were just getting started. In the second, Kyle Schwarber hit a solo homer with two outs to make it 4-0. To that point, the Cubs had three hits -- all homers. In the third inning, Miguel Montero, who hit the game-winning homer Saturday, cranked a three-run shot to left-center for a 7-0 lead.
Bryant led off the sixth with his second homer -- a towering shot to straightaway center field -- to make it 9-2. It was Bryant’s 19th of the season and his third multi-homer game.
The Braves added a run in the seventh off Clayton Richard (another RBI single by Swisher) to close out the scoring.
What it means: One of the things Cubs manager Joe Maddon stresses is not getting complacent by success early in a series. If you win the first three games of a four-game set, don’t be content with winning the series -- go for the sweep.
It would have been easy for the Cubs to be laid back on Sunday. Not only did they win the first three games of the series, they rallied from deficits late to win the previous two. But the Cubs were primed and ready to go at the start and never let the Braves feel like they had a chance.
It’s the Cubs’ fourth sweep of a four-game series this season. (They also swept the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants at home and the Milwaukee Brewers on the road.) The last time the Cubs swept four four-game series in a season was in 1945.
Hammel's solid start was also encouraging -- after being knocked around in his previous start and being angered by quick hooks in the two before that. Hammel pitched into the seventh this time, allowing two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. With the other starters making quick exits of late -- with the exception of ace Jake Arrieta -- Hammel pitching into the seventh gave the bullpen some much-needed rest.
Fan injured: A fan was carried off on a stretcher after being hit with a foul ball by Schwarber in the first inning. The fan was sitting a few rows from the field in a section just past the first-base dugout where seats were added several years ago.
The liner from the left-handed swinging Schwarber appeared to strike the fan flush. Cubs first-base coach Brandon Hyde immediately reacted and took off his helmet.
After medical personnel worked on the fan for several minutes, the fan was carried off, apparently with some sort of head/neck restraint.
What’s next: The Cubs’ 19-day stay in Chicago concludes Monday with a make-up game against the Cleveland Indians at 2:05 p.m. ET. Jon Lester (8-9, 3.58) looks to bounce back after giving up a season-high seven runs last week against Detroit. Right-hander Corey Kluber (8-13, 3.52) goes for the Indians.