Brian McCann made the most of his Atlanta homecoming by hitting a two-run single in a four-run first inning, and the Braves took advantage of six Chicago errors to beat the Cubs 8-0 on Monday night.
After being swept in their first series at Philadelphia, the Braves became the final major league team to win a game. Ender Inciarte and Ronald Acuña Jr. homered off Kyle Hendricks (0-1).
Hendricks gave up seven runs, two earned, on 10 hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander’s 2019 debut came after he agreed to a four-year extension last week that added $55.5 million to his contract through 2023.
The Cubs have allowed seven or more runs in three straight losses since opening the season with a 12-4 win at Texas.
The 35-year-old McCann grew up near Atlanta and played his first nine seasons with the Braves before stints with the Yankees and Astros. He said his first home game back in Atlanta was “definitely going to be a shot of adrenaline.”
Cubs rookie Mark Zagunis dropped Inciarte’s foul pop-up in left field for an error in the first inning. On the next pitch from Hendricks, Inciarte hit a homer over the 375-foot mark in right-center.
The Cubs’ fielding problems continued when a throwing error by shortstop Javier Báez on a grounder by Nick Markakis allowed Josh Donaldson, who reached on a single, to score from second.
Zagunis was part of a trio of Cubs fielders who watched Ozzie Albies’ blooper fall in shallow left field for a double later in the first. That play set up McCann’s two-run single.
The struggles for Zagunis continued in the second when he took a called third strike to end the inning with Wilson Contreras on third base. Zagunis later had two doubles.
Acuña pulled a fastball from Hendricks into the left-field seats for his first homer to lead off the third.
Sean Newcomb threw 91 pitches in four trouble-filled innings. He gave up six hits with four walks. He left the bases loaded in the third when David Bote’s grounder to third base ended the inning.
Wes Parsons (1-1) threw one perfect inning in relief of Newcomb for his first career win.
The dugouts emptied but no punches were thrown after Albies and the Braves appeared to protest Bote’s slide into second base on Jason Heyward’s double-play grounder to end the eighth. There was no apparent contact on Bote’s slide. Umpires quickly waved players off the field, about the same time relievers were starting to leave the bullpens.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (right elbow spur), who had been projected to open the season as Atlanta’s No. 1 starter, will make a rehab start with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. He could return to the Atlanta rotation in about two weeks. … LHP Darren O’Day had renewed soreness in his left forearm and won’t throw for two weeks. … RHP Kevin Gausman (right shoulder tendinitis) threw on the side and could come off the 10-day injured list to start against Miami this weekend.
Cubs: Following an off day Tuesday, a nine-game trip continues when LHP Jon Lester (1-0, 3.00 ERA) faces the Braves on Wednesday night.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (0-1, 5.40) is 3-1 with a 3.44 ERA in eight career starts against the Cubs.