Cubs Spoil the Pirates Party – Cubs 7, Pirates 3

Game Sixty-Two: Cubs 7, Pirates 3

WP – Travis Wood (6-5) LP – Casey Sadler (0-1) Save – None

wflag-pub2014The Cubs snapped their two-game losing skid on Tuesday night at PNC Park and picked up a much-needed win outside of Wrigley Field. The offense pounded out 11 hits, six for extra bases, with Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena delivering the big blows as the Cubs beat the Pirates for the third time this season.

The Cubs and Pirates were tied at three in the sixth when Luis Valbuena (2-for-2 with a double and two RBI) hit for Mike Olt and delivered a two-run double that gave the Cubs the lead for good. The Cubs tacked on two runs in the seventh on run scoring hits from Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. And Neil Ramirez picked up the final three outs to close out the game and rain on Gregory Polanco’s big league debut (1-for-5 with a run scored).

Anthony Rizzo (3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, three RBI and three runs scored) drove in three of the Cubs seven runs with a home run and two doubles. Rizzo gave the Cubs an early lead with a long, two-run homer off of Francisco Liriano that ended up in the last row of the stands in right field. Rizzo doubled in Junior Lake (2-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base) with the Cubs’ sixth run in the seventh and scored on a Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a RBI, a walk and a run scored) single to left center.

Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a double) gave the Cubs a brief 3-2 lead in the fourth with a RBI double that plated Anthony Rizzo. Justin Ruggiano had a good, but painful night at the plate. Ruggiano went 1-for-2 with a run scored and was hit by a pitch twice.

The offense scored seven runs on 11 hits with one walk and two HBP and went 4-for-9 with RISP while leaving four men on base.

Travis Wood put together a solid outing. Wood pitched with a lot of traffic on the bases throughout the night. Wood retired the Pirates in order in the first inning and faced the minimum in both the fifth and sixth innings. Wood issued only two free passes and that made a difference.

Travis Wood allowed three runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Wood threw 102 pitches, 65 for strikes, over 6 2/3 innings.

Rick Renteria used five relievers to record the last seven outs of the game. Brian Schlitter and James Russell each faced and walked one batter. Wesley Wright picked up the last out in the seventh on one pitch and Pedro Strop pitched around a Starlin Castro error in the eighth. Neil Ramirez recorded the last three outs after James Russell walked Pedro Alvarez to start the ninth inning.

The Cubs defense turned two inning ending double plays on Tuesday night that bailed Travis Wood and Pedro Strop out of trouble.

Francisco Liriano left Tuesday’s game in the fourth inning after the third pitch of the at bat to Anthony Rizzo. Liriano appeared to twist his ankle on his follow through but it was announced later in the game he was lifted with discomfort in his left side.

With Tuesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 26-36 on the season.

Emilio Bonifacio worked a full count to start the game before grounding out to third. Junior Lake singled to center on a 2-2 pitch and stole second on 0-1 pitch to Rizzo. Anthony Rizzo launched Francisco Liriano’s next pitch deep to right. The ball ended up in the back row of the stands, and his 13th longball of the season just missed leaving PNC Park. Rizzo gave the Cubs a 2-0 with a long homer off a southpaw. Castro struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Justin Ruggiano beat the shift with a single to right but was thrown out trying to steal second with Mike Olt (0-1 pitch) at the plate to end the inning. The Cubs made Liriano work as the lefty threw 26 pitches, 16 for strikes, in the first inning.

Travis Wood set down the Pirates in order in the first (13 pitches, nine strikes) and the Cubs led 2-0 after the first inning.

The Cubs took the 2-0 lead into the bottom of the third. Wood retired Liriano on a deep fly to center and Harrison on a fly out to left. Gregory Polanco drove a 0-1 pitch into left for his first big league hit. Travis Wood left his first pitch out over the plate to Andrew McCutchen and the ball ended up beyond the wall in center. McCutchen’s two-run homer tied the game at two. Wood walked Gaby Sanchez after he was ahead 0-2. Sanchez swiped second but Martin fouled out to Olt for the third out. Wood threw 51 pitches, 34 for strikes, over the first three innings.

After three innings, the game was tied at two.

Anthony Rizzo led off the fourth inning. Francisco Liriano appeared to twist his ankle after a 2-1 pitch to Rizzo. Liriano left the game and was replaced by Jeanmar Gomez. Rizzo doubled to left over Marte’s head and advanced to third when Castro flied out to deep center. Gomez plunked Ruggiano with a 2-1 pitch and the Cubs had runners on the corners with one out. Mike Olt looked at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Darwin Barney picked up Olt with a double to left. Rizzo scored, 3-2 Cubs. With runners on second and third with two down, Whiteside grounded out to first for the third out.

Travis Wood was given a lead again, but it did not last long. Starling Marte led off the fourth with a hustle double to left. Jordy Mercer hit a bouncer back to the mound that Wood made an excellent stop on, turned and threw to Castro to nail Marte at second. With Mercer at first, Clint Barmes blooped a single into right. Clint Hurdle went to his bench and sent up Jose Tabata to hit for Jeanmar Gomez. Tabata lined a single into left to load the bases with one out. Josh Harrison lifted Wood’s first pitch into right center. Mercer tagged and scored after Bonifacio caught the ball. With runners on the corners and two down, Polanco popped out to Castro to end the inning.

At the end of four, the game was tied at three.

The game remained tied at three through the fifth. After Rizzo grounded out to first to start the sixth, Starlin Castro worked a walked. Casey Sadler hit Ruggiano square in the back and put two on with one down for Mike Olt. Renteria went to his bench and sent up Luis Valbuena to hit for Olt. Valbuena pulled Sadler’s first pitch to deep right center. The ball hit off the top of the wall, Castro and Ruggiano scored on Valbuena’s pinch-hit double … 5-3 Cubs. Barney grounded out to third and Whiteside fouled out to Sanchez to end the inning.

Travis Wood faced the minimum in the bottom of the inning after Marte ran into an out. Wood threw 86 pitches, 55 for strikes, over six innings. And after six innings, the Cubs had a 5-3 lead.

Casey Sadler retired Wood (grounder to third) and Bonifacio (flyout to left) to start the seventh. Junior Lake reached on a bunt single to the third base side of the mound. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 1-0 pitch to deep right. Polanco short-armed the ball as he neared the wall. Lake scored on Rizzo’s second double of the game, 6-3 Cubs. Starlin Castro singled to left center, Rizzo scored and the Cubs took a 7-3 lead. Clint Hurdle decided that was enough for Sadler and went to his pen for Justin Wilson. Ruggiano grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Travis Wood started the seventh and retired Snider on a grounder to second. Josh Harrison pulled a double into the left field corner. Polanco grounded out to second (2-1 pitch), Harrison went to third and Renteria went to his pen. Brian Schlitter replaced Wood and walked Andrew McCutchen. Renteria went back to his pen as soon as Ike Davis was announced as the pinch-hitter for Gaby Sanchez. Wesley Wright replaced Schlitter with runners on the corners and two outs. Davis popped Wright’s pitch to Castro for the third out.

At the end of seven, the Cubs led 7-3.

And that is the way the game ended. Pedro Strop kept the Pirates off the board in the eighth and Neil Ramirez picked up the last three outs of the game in the ninth on 18 pitches, 10 for strikes.

Jason Hammel is scheduled to face right hander Brandon Cumpton on Wednesday night (6:05pm CDT).

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Quote of the Day

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