CHICAGO -- When Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez utilized Nick Swisher as his starting left fielder on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, he opted to sacrifice some defense for offense. But he certainly wasn't expecting the powerful production he received.
Proving that his surgically-repaired knees have not zapped his power, Swisher homered from both sides of the plate for the 14th time in his career -- once again matching Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira for the most in Major League history. But the pair of two-run shots he provided were not enough to prevent the Braves from extending their losing streak to six games with a disheartening 9-7 loss to the Cubs.
"You always want to win, but I guess individually, it was a good day," Swisher said. "You want to stop that losing streak and do everything you can to put a W on the board for us."
Swisher did his part as he gave the Braves a 2-1 lead with his second-inning homer off right-hander Dan Haren. The veteran slugger added to his contributions when he highlighted a five-run fifth inning with a two-run shot off left-hander Travis Wood.
Swisher's 21st multi-homer game enabled him to move back into tie with Teixeira, his former Yankees teammate who had gained sole possession of the record when he homered from both sides of the plate during a July 30 game against the White Sox.
"Tex beat my record earlier, I had to catch up to him again," Swisher said. "I guess it's just one of those lucky things, swing hard in case you hit it."
When the Braves acquired Swisher in a trade that sent Chris Johnson to the Indians on Aug. 7, they knew there were definite concerns about how productive he could be while attempting to distance himself from the surgeries performed on both his knees last summer. But from an offensive perspective, the energetic veteran has at least proven there is still some pop in his bat.
Swisher has recorded just six hits in the 29 at-bats he has compiled since joining the Braves. But he has a pair of doubles and three homers. This power potential might tempt the Braves to continue giving him some time in left field, a position where they must also find playing time for Michael Bourn and Jonny Gomes.
"It was kind of nice, my first start in the outfield," Swisher said. "I was really kind of geeked up to provide a spark and some energy to this lineup. It's just nice to be out there playing again and be healthy enough to run around for a full nine innings."
Swisher seems to have a good understanding of why he and Teixeira have managed to do something that Mickey Mantle and some of the other great switch hitters of yesteryear never did.
"You've got to look at it as back in the day, they didn't have as many [pitching changes], so it was a lot harder for guys like Mantle," Swisher said. "But for us with the matchups, they're mixing and matching guys all the time. In today's game, we have more opportunities."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.