CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Wright plunked four Cubs batters but still left with the lead after a last-minute call-up, Will Smith stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Atlanta Braves escaped with a bizarre 5-2 win Friday over Chicago.
Wright was recalled from the club’s alternate site to replace Drew Smyly, who was scratched and placed on the 10-day injured list with left forearm inflammation Friday morning. Wright hit four batters, including Javier Báez twice, but limited Chicago to two runs and three hits over 4 1/3 innings. He also doubled for his first career hit.
“I thought he did a great job,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “For the most part, he kept us in the game.”
Four relievers, including winner Josh Tomlin (2-0), kept the Cubs scoreless until Smith entered for the ninth. Atlanta’s closer walked the bases loaded with two outs before striking out Joc Pederson to cap his third save in three tries.
Willson Contreras homered off Wright as the Cubs lost their second straight and fifth of six. Contreras was one of three Cubs struck by Wright pitches Friday as the Cubs assumed the major league lead for hit batsmen with 13.
Chicago batters were hit a league-most 52 times last season.
Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t bowled over by Wright’s performance but was pleased to see the right-hander stay out of deep trouble.
“I loved the way he didn’t let the thing get out of hand,” he said. “He made big pitches and got big outs when we needed them.”
The Braves took the lead for good with a three-run fourth highlighted by Ronald Acuña Jr.’s two-run single. Marcell Ozuna added three hits and an RBI for Atlanta, which has won two straight since ending a four-game skid.
The first four runs came off Chicago starter Zach…