Swisher homers from both sides, but Braves fall to Cubs 9-7
CHICAGO (AP) — Atlanta Braves switch-hitter Nick Swisher took advantage of the breezy conditions at Wrigley Field on Saturday.
But so did the home team.
Miguel Montero and Jorge Soler broke a tie with back-to-back solo homers to start the eighth inning, and the Chicago Cubs overcame homers from both sides of the plate by Swisher in a 9-7, comeback win over the Braves — their third straight.
Montero and Soler both lofted balls into the left field basket off former Cub Edwin Jackson (2-2), sending Atlanta to its sixth straight loss.
Swisher homered from both sides of the plate in a game for a record-tying 14th time to drive in four runs as he made his first start, in left field, since last Monday.
"The bats kind of came alive tonight," Swisher said. "It's just a tough loss, man. Haven't been going well for us as of late.
"Individually I guess it was a good day, but you want to stop that losing streak."
Batting left-handed, Swisher lofted a wind-blown, two-run shot to left field off Cubs starter Dan Haren in the second. Hitting right-handed against Travis Wood, he lined a two-run blast to left to cap a five-run rally that put Atlanta ahead 7-3 in the fifth.
He tied the Yankees' Mark Teixeira, who homered right- and left-handed most recently in a game on July 31 against the White Sox. Swisher was acquired from Cleveland on Aug. 7.
"Tex beat my record earlier," Swisher said. "I had to catch up to him again. I guess it's just one of those lucky things. Swing hard in case you hit it, I guess."
Cubs rookie Addison Russell hit a solo shot in the sixth to tie the game at 7. The homer withstood a video review after a fan reached over the wall trying to catch the ball.
Anthony Rizzo also went deep for Chicago and had two RBIs. Dexter Fowler had three hits, including a triple, and Kris Bryant knocked in two runs with a double.
A steady southeast wind was blowing across Wrigley Field, from the right field corner to left. It helped both teams, but aided the Cubs a little more.
"Even the two balls that Jackson gave up for home runs, they were fly balls," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They were fly balls that just kept carrying."
But the wind blew the same way for both teams, Cubs manager Joe Maddon noted.
"I'm not going to try to qualify the homers," Maddon said. "They're homers, that's the way the ballpark plays. You've got to hit it, too. You've got to put it in the air. It's a different kind of ballpark.
"This (left) side of the balllpark was playing one way today and this (right) side was playing another way."
The Cubs bounced back after Atlanta's five-run fifth with three runs in the bottom of the inning — capped by an RBI double by Montero — to cut it to 7-6.
Atlanta's A.J. Pierzynski had three hits and drove in two runs. Braves rookie starter Williams Perez lasted only 4 2-3 innings, allowing six runs on four hits, and hasn't won in the majors since June 20.
Pedro Strop (2-6), the Cubs' fourth reliever, got the win. Hector Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 23rd save in 27 chances.
Haren pitched just 4 1-3 innings in his fourth start with the Cubs since being acquired at the non-waiver trade deadline from Miami. Haren, who leads the National League with 28 homers allowed, gave up four runs on four hits.
Former Notre Dame men's basketball coach Digger Phelps threw out the ceremonial first pitch and led the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" from the TV booth in the seventh.
Braves RHP Matt Wisler (5-3, 4.65 ERA) takes the mound against Cubs RHP Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.38 ERA) in the finale of the four-game series Sunday afternoon. Wisler is one of four Braves to make his debut as a starter this season and has never faced the Cubs. Hammel was hit hard in his last outing, a loss Tuesday to Detroit, giving up five runs on nine hits in three innings.