Game Two – Cubs 0, Pirates 3
WP – Wandy Rodriguez (1-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (0-1) Save – Jason Grilli (1)
The Cubs dropped the second game of the season on a very cold night in Pittsburgh … 36 at game time, wild chill of 27 degrees. The Cubs offense was non-existent and managed just two singles and five total baserunners in nine innings.
Edwin Jackson was sharp early on and struck out the side in the first inning. Jackson struggled through a long fourth inning and gave up all the runs the Pirates would need. Jackson surrendered two runs in the 29-pitch fourth frame and left after completing five innings in his Cubs’ debut. Jackson was charged with two runs on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts in five innings. Jackson threw 92 pitches, 57 strikes.
Dale Sveum used four relievers to finish out the game. Hector Rondon made his big league debut in the sixth and settled down after issuing a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced. Rondon issued an intentional walk but struck out two of the five batters he faced.
The Pirates tacked on a run in the seventh against Michael Bowden. Clint Barmes led off the inning with a ground-rule double then scored on a one-out single by Starling Marte. Shawn Camp and Hisanori Takahashi combined on a scoreless eighth. On the night, Cubs pitching allowed three runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Wandy Rodriguez continued his dominance over the Chicago Cubs. Rodriguez hit as many batters (2) as hits he surrendered (2). The Cubs had a chance in the seventh to put runs on the board. Rodriguez hit Anthony Rizzo (0-for-2 with a walk and a HBP) to start the inning. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4) singled. After Scott Hairston was caught looking, Welington Castillo (0-for-2 with a HBP) was plunked and the bases were loaded with one out. Brent Lillibridge (0-for-3) looked at a 3-2 pitch at the top of the zone and Alberto Gonzalez (1-for-3) popped out to center to end the inning.
The Cubs offense managed only two hits, five total baserunners and was 0-for-5 with RISP and left five on base.
Welington Castillo had an excellent night behind the plate. Castillo blocked several balls in the dirt and made two excellent throws to second base.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs are back to even two games into the season.
Both Edwin Jackson and Wandy Rodriguez were on cruise control over the first three innings. Jackson struck out the side in the first inning and allowed just one hit until the fourth inning.
Edwin Jackson really labored through the fourth inning. He struggled with his command pitching out of the stretch and the Pirates put a couple of runs on the board.
Garrett Jones led off the fourth with a single to left center. Andrew McCutchen stepped in, worked a full count and then pulled a double down the left field line. Jones was running on the 3-2 pitch to McCutchen and scored from first. Pedro Alvarez grounded a 2-2 pitch to Rizzo, McCutchen advanced to third on the play. With the infield in, Gaby Sanchez hit a roller toward the hole at short. Starlin Castro tried to backhand the ball, it skipped past him and into left field. McCutchen scored on Castro’s first error of the season, 2-0 Pirates. Jackson issued a four-pitch walk to Neil Walker. With runners on first and second with one down, Russell Martin hit a dribbler to first. Rizzo fielded and threw to second to force Walker but Martin beat the return throw. Anthony Rizzo made a nice over the shoulder catch in short right field to take a hit away from Clint Barmes to end the inning.
Edwin Jackson threw 29 pitches in the fourth. Jackson needed 76 pitches, 46 for strikes, to complete four innings of work.
Wandy Rodriguez set the Cubs down in order in the fifth … just one hit for the Cubs through five innings.
Edwin Jackson ended his night on a positive note by retiring the side in order in the fifth.
The Cubs wasted a chance to get back in the game in the seventh … after a scary moment involving Anthony Rizzo. Wandy Rodriguez appeared to hit Rizzo in the head with a 1-2 pitch. Rizzo’s helmet came off as he hit the dirt. Rizzo stayed in and replays showed the ball hit him in the right shoulder. Alfonso Soriano followed with the Cubs’ second hit of the game, a single to left center. With runners on first and second with no outs, Scott Hairston looked at a 2-2 pitch for the first out.
Wandy Rodriguez then hit Welington Castillo with a 1-0 offering to load the bases with only one down. Brent Lillibridge put together a long at bat but looked at a 3-2 pitch … and the tenth pitch of the at bat was called a strike. Clint Hurdle made the slow walk and brought in lefty Tony Watson to face Alberto Gonzalez … Gonzalez flied out to center on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Michael Bowden made his season debut in the seventh. Clint Barmes greeted him with a ground-rule double to left. Tony Watson hit for himself and bunted Barmes to third. With the infield in and Barmes at third, Starling Marte pulled a 2-1 pitch past a diving Castro and into left field … 3-0 Pirates.
Welington Castillo made his second accurate throw of the game and cut down Marte at second. After Marte was caught stealing, Bowden retired Jones on a grounder to first.
The Pirates did nothing in the eighth … while Tony Watson and Jason Grilli kept the Cubs off the board over the last two innings.
The Cubs and Pirates wrap up the three-game series on Thursday morning (11:35am CDT) … Travis Wood against James McDonald.