Huascar Ynoa had been outstanding for the Braves, but his outing Saturday was a dud, leading to the team’s 13-4 loss to the Cubs in Chicago. It snapped the Braves’ two-game win streak.
Here are five takeaways from Saturday:
1. Ynoa was roughed up in four innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. He also allowed three home runs after allowing one over his previous three appearances (12 innings). Willson Contreras homered off him twice, and Javier Baez hit a three-run shot that put the Cubs up 6-0 in the third. It started an offensive onslaught for the Cubs, who homered six times.
“He just wasn’t getting anything established,” manager Brian Snitker said, adding that Ynoa’s change-up was off, and his slider wasn’t nearly as crisp as previous outings.
2. Infielder Sean Kazmar hadn’t appeared in a major-league game since Sept. 23, 2008. The Triple-A Gwinnett staple was promoted to the majors Saturday and pinch-hit in the fifth inning against Cubs starter Trevor Williams. Kazmar grounded into a double play to finish a four-pitch at-bat. It was a moment Kazmar had been working toward for over a decade.
“I think about (what drives me to continue) all the time, especially last year when COVID hit,” Kazmar said. “The best way I can say it is just the love and passion for this game. It’s all I’ve really done. It’s something I’ve done since I was four years old. Born in Braves country (Valdosta), it was the first jersey I ever put on. So certainly this is beyond special for me to wear the big-league uniform in an actual game today.”
3. The Braves’ bullpen didn’t fare much better than Ynoa in the middle innings. Left-hander Jesse Biddle, a former Brave who recently rejoined the organization and was promoted Saturday, started the fifth inning. He recorded only one out, allowing two hits, walking one and hitting a batter. He surrendered a two-run homer to Kris Bryant.
Jacob Webb followed Biddle, inheriting two base runners. Four pitches later, David Bote launched a three-run homer that pushed the Cubs’ lead to 11. Bryant hit a two-run homer off Webb in the next inning.
4. The Braves’ offense had its worst game since Snitker rearranged the lineup Tuesday. Saturday was the first time the Braves failed to score at least five runs with the revamped lineup. Williams pitched five scoreless innings before running out of gas in the sixth, when the Cubs had built an 11-run lead. The Braves managed four runs on seven hits, but the game was lost long before the team started tacking on runs. Marcell Ozuna had a two-run single in the seventh that produced the final score.
5. Ronald Acuna extended his hitting streak to nine games with a hard-hit single (115.8 mph) in the sixth. He also extended his run-scored streak to nine games later in the inning. Acuna went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored.
Stat of the game
12 years, 206 days (It had been 12 years and 206 days since Kazmar last appeared in a major-league game.)
“Obviously, when I first started this career, it wasn’t, ‘I want to play in Triple-A my whole career.’ But that’s how it ended up. At the same time, I’d do it all over again for a day like today.” - Kazmar on his return to the majors
The Braves and Cubs wrap up their series Sunday night. Bryse Wilson, who’s coming off a great spring training, will make his first start for the Braves. Kyle Hendricks is expected to start for Chicago.
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