Game Forty-Six – Cubs 2, Pirates 4
WP – Vin Mazzaro (3-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (1-7) Save – Jason Grilli (19)
Rain just delayed the inevitable on Thursday afternoon at PNC Park as the Cubs dropped the third game of the series and were swept out of Pittsburgh.
The Cubs offense was pretty much a no show and once Edwin Jackson surrendered four runs in the first two innings the game was basically over. Edwin Jackson was hit hard again and gave up four runs on six hits in just three innings. Andrew McCutchen (3-for-4 with two RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases) squared off on Jackson. McCutchen saw only two pitches in his two at bats against Jackson on Thursday and he drove both offerings into the outfield for run scoring singles. McCutchen also ran at will and one of his two steals led to the Pirates’ second run.
Edwin Jackson did not come back after the one hour and 47 minute rain delay, so his final line is pretty indicative of how he pitched. Jackson allowed four runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts on 64 pitches, 38 for strikes, in three innings. Jackson lost for the seventh time in a Cubs’ uniform.
The bullpen did a good job of keep the Pirates off the board with five scoreless frames. Rafael Dolis, Carlos Villanueva, Carlos Marmol and Kyuji Fujikawa allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out five batters. And while the offense had chances (2-for-6 with RISP and left five on base), they could not string together any hits with runners on base.
The Cubs managed seven hits but only one went for extra bases. The Cubs lack of patience was on full display again as they worked only one free pass on the afternoon. Both the extra base hit and walk scored … it is all about OPS.
David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) doubled and scored the Cubs’ first run in the fourth inning on an Anthony Rizzo (0-for-4 with a RBI) groundout. The second run scored in the seventh after Welington Castillo (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) walked for just the second time this year. Ryan Sweeney (1-for-1 with a RBI) drove in Castillo with a pinch-hit single. Starlin Castro (2-for-4) collected two hits but was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double leading off the sixth with his team down by three runs.
Thursday’s loss dropped the Cubs to a season-low 10 games under .500 for the season (18-28).
After the Cubs went down in order on just nine pitches to start the game, Starling Marte reached on an infield single to the hole at short to start the Pirates’ first inning. Travis Snider struck out swinging but Marte swiped second. Andrew McCutchen laced the first pitch he saw into the left field corner. Jackson hung a breaking ball and Marte scored easily from second base. Jackson struck out Garrett Jones swinging. McCutchen stole second on the 3-2 pitch to Jones. Jackson then walked Neil Walker.
Michael McKenry stepped in with runners on first and second with two outs and singled to left. Alfonso Soriano’s throw to the plate was offline. McCutchen scored and both Walker and McKenry moved up ninety feet on Soriano’s error. Jackson struck out Pedro Alvarez swinging to end the inning.
Jackson struck out the side but gave up a pair of runs on 29 pitches, 16 for strikes, in the first inning.
The Cubs continued walking to the plate swinging the bat in the second inning. Jeanmar Gomez faced the minimum in the second and it took him only 19 pitches, 13 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.
Edwin Jackson retired Barmes and Gomez rather quickly to start the second. Starling Marte reached on with his second infield single in as many at bat. Marte hit a 1-2 back up the middle that hit off Jackson’s leg. Luis Valbuena tried to make a play but he had no chance with the speedy Marte running to first. Travis Snider drove a 3-2 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall. Marte was running with the pitch and scored easily on what ended up as a triple for Snider. Andrew McCutchen smoked a Jackson fastball into left center. Snider scored easily … 4-0 Pirates. Jones grounded out to Valbuena in the shift to end the inning.
The Cubs went down in order in the third … 32 pitches for Gomez, 22 for strikes, after three innings. Jackson set down the Pirates in order in the third in what ended up being his final inning of work.
David DeJesus led off the fourth with a double to right. Starlin Castro singled to center. DeJesus held at third with no outs. Anthony Rizzo grounded out to short. Castro was forced at second as DeJesus scored … 4-1 Pirates. Rizzo took over at first and advanced to second when Soriano grounded out to short … Rizzo was running on the 3-2 pitch. Nate Schierholtz reached on an error by Jones and the Cubs had runners on first and third with two down.
Then the game was put into a delay for an hour and 47 minutes.
When the game resumed, Welington Castillo stepped in and swung at the second pitch from new Pirates’ pitcher Vin Mazzaro. Pedro Alvarez made another excellent play at third and threw out Castillo to end the inning.
The game remained 4-1 Pirates until the seventh inning.
Jose Contreras replaced Mazzaro and did just about the impossible. Contreras walked Welington Castillo. Luis Valbuena struck out swinging for the second out. Darwin Barney followed with a bloop single into right center. Castillo advanced to third with two down. As soon as Sweeney was announced at the pinch-hitter, Clint Hurdle went to his pen for lefty Justin Wilson.
Ryan Sweeney hit for Carlos Villanueva and blooped a 1-2 pitch from the southpaw into right field. Castillo scored and Barney advanced to third with two down. David DeJesus popped a 1-2 pitch to a sliding Andrew McCutchen in shallow center to end the inning.
Justin Wilson and Jason Grilli retired the next six Cubs in a row to close out the game … and the series.
The Cubs open a three-game series in Cincinnati on Friday night. Scott Feldman is scheduled to face Bronson Arroyo in the first game.