In their first time playing in extra innings this season, the Braves lost to the Cubs, 6-3, on Wednesday at Truist Park. Atlanta is 8-11.

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Here are five observations:

1. Even if the Braves went quietly in the ninth, it seemed they had momentum as they headed into extra innings for the first time this season. After all, Atlanta had used an eighth-inning rally to tie this game.

It took three pitches for the Cubs to rip back that momentum in extras.

On Tyler Matzek’s third pitch, Wilson Contreras smoked a double that scored the ghost runner who began the inning at second base. It only got worse from there as, two batters later, Patrick Wisdom sent a 434-foot, two-run home run into the seats to give the Cubs a three-run lead.

Matzek didn’t complete the inning as Braves manager Brian Snitker removed him when the lefty gave up a two-out single later in the frame. Before this, Matzek had only surrendered one earned run over his first 6 2/3 innings this season.

“He was bound to have one of those, too,” Snitker said. “I would bet probably none of them are going to have zero ERAs when this thing’s over and they’re going to have some times where it doesn’t work out.”

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Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) walks to the dugout after being replaced in the third inning at Truist Park on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) walks to the dugout after being replaced in the third inning at Truist Park on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Combined ShapeCaption
Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) walks to the dugout after being replaced in the third inning at Truist Park on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

2. Charlie Morton’s string of rough starts continued.

He survived only 2 1/3 innings versus the Cubs. He allowed three runs and his command was the largest issue.

Of Morton’s 70 pitches, only 38 were strikes. He walked four of the 14 batters he faced. His pitches only induced 26 swings and, of those, he only got three whiffs.

Over his last three starts, Morton has surrendered 12 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings, with 10 walks.

“There are a lot of times where I’m out there and I’m thinking, all right, make a pitch here. I may or may not make the pitch, but it seems like the feedback from the hitters isn’t what I want it to be,” Morton said. “It just seems like the pitches that I have to make to get the swings and misses, to get the weak contact, have to be better than they were before. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I don’t know if that’s actually what’s happening, is I’m having to make better pitches, like my stuff isn’t playing up where it was, or if that’s just something I’m making up in my head.”

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Of Morton’s 295 career starts, only 18 have lasted 2 1/3 innings or shorter. Before Wednesday, the most recent such outing occurred last season, when Morton went 2/3rd of an inning and allowed six runs -- none earned -- against the Phillies.

3. Could this at-bat jumpstart Dansby Swanson? It remains to be seen, but he deserves credit for it. This was the type of moment he hasn’t experienced much this season.

With the bases loaded and the Braves trailing by two runs in the eighth, Swanson grounded a two-out, two-run single through the right side against righty Mychal Givens that tied the game.

Swanson entered the game batting .180. He stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning tied for the MLB lead in strikeouts, with 28. That’s why this moment could be massive for him.

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042722 Atlanta: Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hits a 2-RBI single to tie the game 3-3 with the Chicago Cubs during the 8th inning in a MLB baseball game on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Atlanta. The Braves lost to the Cubs 6-3. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

042722 Atlanta: Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hits a 2-RBI single to tie the game 3-3 with the Chicago Cubs during the 8th inning in a MLB baseball game on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Atlanta. The Braves lost to the Cubs 6-3.  “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Combined ShapeCaption
042722 Atlanta: Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hits a 2-RBI single to tie the game 3-3 with the Chicago Cubs during the 8th inning in a MLB baseball game on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Atlanta. The Braves lost to the Cubs 6-3. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

4. Entering Wednesday’s game, the Atlanta’s starting pitchers collectively ranked 24th in baseball with a 4.53 ERA. They had pitched the seventh-most innings in the majors (91 1/3) but had issued the fifth-most walks (36) and sat at No. 17 in opponents’ batting average (.242).

It’s worth keeping in mind that it’s early in the season and it’s a small sample of games. However, the Braves probably hope the starting pitching evens out as they progress through the season.

5. Jesse Chavez (1 2/3 innings), Collin McHugh (two innings), A.J. Minter (one inning), William Woods (one inning in his MLB debut) and Kenley Jansen (one inning) shut out the Cubs after Morton departed to keep the game within reach.

“Words can’t describe it,” Woods said of his debut. “It was awesome. It’s every kid’s dream and I got to live that tonight, so I’m very happy, thankful and blessed.”

Cubs 6, Braves 3

Stat to know

5 - The Braves’ Nos. 6-9 hitters collected five of the club’s eight hits, which is important because Atlanta hasn’t received much production from the bottom of its lineup over this first month.

Quotable

“If I gave up on myself every time it got hard, I would probably have retired a decade ago. I think it’s really just doing what I’ve done is just try to get to the bottom of it, keep working. If it takes months and it takes frustrations, I’m used to that.”-Morton when asked if he has the confidence to turn it around like he did last season

Up next

Braves right-hander Kyle Wright will face Drew Smyly, the former Braves lefty, in Thursday’s series finale, which begins at 7:20 p.m.