Home World Nico Hoerner, Dansby Swanson boost extra-innings win

Nico Hoerner, Dansby Swanson boost extra-innings win

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For the last six games, Nico Hoerner could be spotted in the Chicago Cubs’ dugout with his spikes on and mitt in hand.

Hoerner avoided the injured list as he worked through left hamstring tightness, but it left him alongside shortstop Dansby Swanson to watch as the Cubs’ offense scuffled in their absence. Fittingly, one of the biggest moments in their return Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves found Hoerner.

Despite quickly falling behind 0-2 in the count to Braves lefty Aaron Bummer, Hoerner smacked an elevated sinker off home plate, leaving second baseman Ozzie Albies without a clean play on the high chopper. Cody Bellinger scored without a throw for the walk-off 4-3 win in 10 innings.

“Watching the game you always do pick up little things,” Hoerner said of his time on the bench recovering. “I enjoy watching all of our guys go about their work. Obviously not the results we wanted over the weekend with the Pirates series, but the outlook for our group is still as good as ever I feel like. Exciting to have our full lineup out there again today.”

Swanson collected two hits, including a double and run scored, in his first game since May 7. Right-hander Javier Assad kept the Cubs (27-22) in the game without his best stuff and the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. He allowed three runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings, however, the bullpen picked up Assad as five relievers combined for 6 1/3 shutout innings with only two base runners allowed on a single and hit by pitch.

Swanson’s heads-up play to throw out Marcell Ozuna, the automatic runner on second to start the 10th, at third base for the second out in the inning gave lefty reliever Luke Little a boost to escape without a run scoring.

Photos: Chicago Cubs 4, Atlanta Braves 3 (10) at Wrigley Field

“It was tough initially to say that I didn’t need to be out there, it was very prideful of me to try and continue to keep playing,” Swanson said before the win. “But I think the best thing obviously for us and myself was to take that time off. … You just gotta use your time wisely. It’s a different kind of opportunity to talk to teammates, help guys with whatever they need, be of assistance and service however possible.”

The Cubs played a man short on the bench while Hoerner was sidelined the previous six games. Looking back on the decision, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said an IL move becomes hard once the three-day limit to backdate a move passes, as it would have forced Hoerner to be out even longer. Although ideally Hoerner would have been back Saturday or Sunday, the Cubs felt certain he would be ready to return to the lineup following Monday’s off day.



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