Tauchman helps Cubs secure win over Braves in the field, at the plate

Mike Tauchman has done the little things all season to help the Cubs become playoff contenders in the National League.

The Palatine native was in the spotlight once again Sunday, turning in a terrific fifth inning - both in the field and at the plate - during a 6-4 victory over the Braves at Wrigley Field.

Tauchman first threw out Braves speedster Ronald Acuna Jr. at home on a perfect throw from right field on a single by Ozzie Albies.

After leading off the bottom of the inning with a single, Tauchman then stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Nico Hoerner and scored on Ian Happ's base hit to left-center field. The Cubs tacked on 2 more runs to take a 5-3 lead, added another run in the seventh and went on to claim the three-game series over the best team in baseball.

"Tauch's one of those unsung heroes we talk about that's filled a nice role for us," said manager David Ross. "Great throw from him. He has a way of paying attention to the little things and taking advantage of his skill set every single day. ...

"Quality teammate. Quality baseball player."

With the game tied 2-2, Acuna led off the fifth with a double. When Albies singled to right, Acuna made a beeline for third and was waved home despite the fact that Tauchman was scooping up the ball before Acuna had even touched the base. Tauchman then made a perfect throw to gun down one of the fastest players in the league.

"He's an incredibly aggressive runner," said Tauchman, who was 2-for-5 at the plate to raise his average to .375 over his last 20 games. "The circumstances have to be just right to throw guys out from the outfield. It's my job to be aggressive to the ball and throw the ball through the cutoff man."

Roster move:

The Cubs recalled RHP Caleb Killian from Triple-A Iowa on Sunday and optioned LHP Anthony Kay to Iowa. Since June 21, Killian had a 2.43 ERA in seven games (six starts) with Iowa. He is 7-1 with a 3.97 ERA overall.

The Cubs needed a fresh arm as manager David Ross used his bullpen for 4 or more innings in four straight games heading into Sunday. Also, Javier Assad - normally a reliever - started and tossed 3⅔ innings during the Cubs' win over the Braves on Saturday.

"Asked a lot out of the bullpen as of late," Ross said. "Just gonna need a guy with some length down there. He's throwing the ball really well and deserves to be back."

Around the horn:

Cody Bellinger has 18 RBIs in his last 16 games and is hitting .386 over that span. ... Dansby Swanson has 19 RBIs since July 22, ranking first in the majors. ... Adbert Alzolay is 10-for-10 in save situations since July 5. ... The Braves have the best record in baseball at 70-39 but are just 10-10 since the all-star break. ... Matt Olson, who homered in the third inning to give the Braves a 2-0 lead Sunday, has 39 HRs on the season to lead the National League. He also has 97 RBIs.

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