The Atlanta Braves scored two runs in the eighth when right fielder Seiya Suzuki dropped a fly ball, allowing them to complete a rally from a six-run deficit and beat the visiting Chicago Cubs 7-6 on Tuesday.
With runners at second and third and two outs, Sean Murphy hit a fly that Suzuki misplayed, allowing Matt Olson and Forest Wall to score. The Braves, who trailed 6-0 entering the bottom of the sixth, rallied for the two decisive unearned runs against ex-Brave Drew Smyly (11-10).
Atlanta improved to 101-56 and evened the season series with the Cubs at 2-2. Chicago (82-75) retained a half-game lead for the final National League wild card over the Miami Marlins (81-75), who had their scheduled road game against the New York Mets rained out.
The winning pitcher was Brad Hand (5-2), who pitched a scoreless eighth, and Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth, allowing a one-out single but then striking out two to earn his 31st save.
Neither starting pitcher earned a decision. Chicago’s Justin Steele threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits and one walk with six strikeouts. Atlanta’s Bryce Elder tossed 3 2/3 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits and four walks. He fanned two.
The Cubs scored twice in the second inning on RBI singles from Yan Gomes and Miles Mastrobuoni, then made it 4-0 in the third inning when Suzuki tripled in a pair runs after right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. missed a diving catch.
Chicago upped the lead to 6-0 thanks to Cody Bellinger’s run-scoring single in the fourth and an RBI single by Ian Happ in the sixth.
Atlanta cut the deficit in half in the sixth inning. Kevin Pillar hit a home run to lead off the inning, his ninth. It was the club’s 300th home run, making the Braves only the third team to reach that milestone. Atlanta is seven homers short of tying the record set by the 2019 Minnesota Twins.
Later in the frame, Olson added a run-scoring single, his major-league-best 134th RBI, and Marcell Ozuna followed with a run-scoring double off the left field wall.
The Braves drew to within 6-5 in the seventh on a two-run homer by Acuna, his 41st.