Chicago Cubs’ Jonathan Villar, left, scores on a sacrifice fly by Christopher Morel as Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud applies a late tag during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Friday, June 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
By MATT CARLSON Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs became the first team in 23 years to stop a losing streak of 10 or more game while ending an opponent’s winning streak of at least 10 games, beating the Braves 1-0 Friday to halt the Braves’ 14-game run.
Rookie Christoper Morel hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, helping the Cubs stop a 10-game slide, their longest since 12 straight losses from last Aug. 5-16.
Atlanta’s 14 consecutive wins were the most for the Braves since their post-1900 record of 15 from April 16 to May 2, 2000.
Morel drove in the game’s only run against reliever A.J Minter after striking out in his first three at-bats, then getting some advice from catcher Willson Contreras.
“It helped me concentrate on what I needed to do, what to focus on with that tough lefty,” Morel said. “Willson talked to me and told me, “Don’t look for stuff low around the plate. Look high.'”
A pair of double-digit streaks had not ended in the same game since Philadelphia beat Houston on Sept. 15, 1999, ending the Phillies’ skid at 11 and the Brewers’ winning streak at 12.
Chicago had not won 1-0 since May 28 last year against Cincinnati. The Braves lost 1-0 for the second time this year following a defeat at Milwaukee on May 16.
Minter (2-1) walked pinch-hitter Jonathan Villar leading off the eighth. He advanced on Andrelton Simmons’ sacrifice, stole third without a throw on Minter’s 2-1 pitch in the dirt to Morel and scored on Morel’s 277-foot fly to center with a steady wind blowing in at Wrigley Field.
Villar slid home headfirst as Michael Harris II’s throw was slightly up the first-base line.
With Chicago wearing unusual dark blue jerseys and pants with light blue letters, Chris Martin (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for his first win with for the Cubs.
Atlanta loaded the bases against David Robertson in the ninth on two walks and a hit batter before Orlando Arcia grounded out. Robertson got his eighth save in 10 chances, completing a two-hitter on a day both teams combined for just five hits.
It was Atlanta’s first defeat since May 31 at Arizona.
“The first loss in June is good when you’re in the middle of the month,” said Matt Olson, who struck one of fourth deep flies that may have been held by wind.
“Our game is to get the ball in the air and we kind of got beat back here today,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.
Keegan Thompson, coming off poor outings at Baltimore and the New York Yankees, struck out a career-high nine while allowing two hits and two walks in six-plus scoreless innings — his longest big league outing.
“I think there was a conscious effort for us today to throw more fastballs,” Thompson said. “I haven’t had a lot of damage done so far off the fastball this year and I had kind of gotten away from the four-seam fastball the last two outings.”
Mychal Givens struck out Arcia with two on to end the seventh.
Charlie Morton struck out nine, walked none and allowed three hits.
Contreras narrowly missed a homer on a drive off the left-center wall with two in the sixth. Left fielder Adam Duvall played the ball perfectly and held him to a single.
BLOOP, THERE IT IS
Arcia got a strange double in the fifth when his shallow pop down the right-field line dropped just fair. Jason Heyward, a five-time Gold Glove winner, slipped and fell on his backside about 10 feet short of the ball.
Braves: RHP Collin McHugh, placed on the COVID-19 injured list on June 7, rejoined the team.
Cubs: 1B Frank Schwindel left in the second with low back tightness that flared while he was running to first on a groundout. Schwindel, who slowed about three-quarters of the way down the line, was replaced by P.J.Higgins. … OF Seiya Suzuki (left ring finger sprain) is progressing slowly and has started taking swings with a bat but without being pitched to, manager David Ross said. … RHP Marcus Stroman (right shoulder inflammation) has resumed light throwing.
Braves RHP Kyle Wright (7-3, 2.57) faces Cubs LHP Justin Steele (1-5, 4.33) on Saturday.