CHICAGO — The baseball that Freddie Freeman launched in the first inning on Sunday night towered to the upper reaches of the right-field bleachers, bounced, and then found its way down to Sheffield Ave.
Unfortunately for Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs, that blast beyond Wrigley Field’s perimeter was a sign of where the evening was heading. In a 13-4 rout at the hands of the Braves, Hendricks found himself on the wrong side of history.
“It just wasn’t his night,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Couldn’t find it.”
Hendricks surrendered four home runs in the first inning, becoming the first Cubs pitcher on record to yield that many in an opening frame. In fact, only nine pitchers in recorded MLB history have allowed four homers in the first inning.
Hendricks had not allowed more than three homers in any of his previous 177 career outings. Two was the most he had given up in a first inning, and just twice in his career. The Cubs had not allowed as many as four home runs in any inning since July 4, 2010, against Cincinnati.
“It was just, obviously, not very good overall from the start,” Hendricks said. “Not aggressive. Falling behind guys. And then just everything was flat.”
The Cubs skipped Hendricks’ turn in the rotation on Tuesday, when he reported feeling ill ahead of a planned start in Milwaukee. That came after two of Chicago’s coaches — bullpen coach Chris…