Game Seventy-One: Cubs 6, Pirates 3
WP – Edwin Jackson (5-7) LP – Charlie Morton (4-8) Save – Hector Rondon (8)
Anthony Rizzo doubled in the Cubs’ first two runs and Starlin Castro followed Rizzo with a three-run homer that accounted for all five of the Cubs runs in the third inning. The Cubs pen picked up Edwin Jackson after he struggled in the fifth and tossed four innings of shutout ball as the Cubs started the 10-game homestand with a win over the Pirates.
The Cubs used the wind to build a lead Friday then used the wind to hold the lead Friday. The game started with the wind blowing out and the Cubs scored five runs in the third and one more in the fifth on a solo home run by Chris Coghlan. The wind knocked down two fly balls off the bat of Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte that might have tied the game in the sixth and seventh innings.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a walk) doubled in Edwin Jackson (1-for-1 with a run scored and sacrifice bunt) with the first two runs of the game. Rizzo has driven in or scored the winning run in the last five Cubs wins at Wrigley Field. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) followed Rizzo’s two-run double with a three-run homer to left.
Chris Coghlan (2-for-3 with a triple, a home run and a walk) had a big game at the plate and in the field. Coghlan tripled and was stranded in the first but hit his second homer of the year in the fifth that took the momentum away from the Pirates after the Bucs cut the Cubs lead to 5-3 in the top of the inning. Coghlan also made a diving catch in left on a ball hit by Travis Snider that helped keep the Pirates from chipping away at the Cubs’ three-run lead.
The Cubs pounded out nine hits and Charlie Morton surrendered a season-high six runs Friday afternoon. Luis Valbuena (1-for-5 with a run scored), Ryan Sweeney (1-for-4) and John Baker (1-for-3 with a walk) also collected hits … and Valbuena scored the Cubs’ second run on Rizzo’s double.
Edwin Jackson might have picked up a win in the 250th start of his big league career, but he had another rough outing. The offense gave him a 5-0 lead after scoring five runs in the third. Jackson struck out the side in the fourth and appeared to be in control over the first four innings. Jackson lost his command in the fifth, issued back-to-back four-pitch walks before serving up a three-run homer to Jordy Mercer. Jackson limped out of the fifth and turned the game over the pen.
Edwin Jackson was charged with three runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Jackson threw 86 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five innings. Jackson has completed five innings or less in four of his last six starts. The last time Edwin Jackson completed more than six innings was May 17 in Milwaukee.
Rick Renteria said after the game Edwin Jackson was lifted after five innings due to cramping issues in his calves.
Rick Renteria used five relievers to cover the last four innings of the game. But the relief corps, with help from the wind, kept the Pirates off the scoreboard. Brian Schlitter and Wesley Wright combined on a scoreless sixth. Neil Ramirez labored through a 26-pitch seventh inning (15 strikes) yet still did his job and threw a zero on the board. Pedro Strop walked a batter in the eighth and Hector Rondon retired the Pirates in order on eight pitches to end the game.
Starlin Castro’s three-run homer Friday afternoon was his 11th longball of the season. Starlin Castro has played in all 71 of the Cubs games this season and his 11 home runs are one more than he hit a year ago (10) and he is one shy of the 44 runs he drove in last season. Castro’s home run Friday came on a 0-2 pitch from Charlie Morton, just the second time a Cubs player has hit a longball on a 0-2 pitch all season … the first was Starlin Castro off Charlie Morton on April 8.
The Cubs are now 18-11 in their last 31 games and 11-7 in June. With Friday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 31-40 on the season.
Gregory Polanco led off the game with a single to center. Jackson picked off Polanco from first with Starling Marte at the plate. And Jackson retired Andrew McCutchen on a grounder to third to end the inning. Jackson threw 14 pitches, nine for strikes, in the first inning.
The Cubs thought for a minute they had a run in the bottom of the first. Chris Coghlan hit a triple into the right field corner with one out. Charlie Morton threw nothing but down and in breaking balls to Rizzo. Anthony Rizzo swung over the top of a 0-2 pitch that got past Martin. Coghlan scampered in as Rizzo stood at the plate. Rizzo appeared to strikeout but replays showed he swung at and missed another ball that hit him in the foot. Clint Hurdle challenged the call and it was reversed. Rizzo was out and Coghlan was sent back to third. Castro flied out to right center to end the inning … nine pitches for Morton after one inning, six for strikes.
The Pirates helped Edwin Jackson out of the second inning. Ike Davis blooped a single into right center to start the inning. Russell Martin bunted Davis to second. And while it was ruled as a sacrifice bunt, Martin appeared to be bunting for a hit. Jackson struck out Josh Harrison for the second out. With first base open and two down, Jackson pitched to Alvarez and he singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Davis was held at third, but Alvarez rounded first base too far. The Cubs caught Alvarez in a run down before Davis broke for the plate. John Baker tagged out a sliding Davis to end the inning (9-3-6-2). But Clint Hurdle challenged the play based on Baker blocking the plate, the umps took a look, the play was upheld and the inning ended.
John Baker led off the bottom of the third in a scoreless game and fouled out to Starling Marte in the Cubs’ pen down the left field line for the first out. Edwin Jackson singled to center and moved to second on a single to left by Luis Valbuena. Chris Coghlan worked a walk to load the bases with one out. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner. Jackson and Valbuena scored easily, 2-0 Cubs, and Coghlan held at third on Rizzo’s double. Starlin Castro fell behind 0-2 before pulling Morton’s third pitch of the at bat into the first row of the bleachers in left. Castro’s 11th longball of the season, a three-run shot, gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead. Sweeney struck out and Schierholtz flied out to the track in right to end the inning. Charlie Morton needed 48 pitches, 30 for strikes, to complete three innings on Friday afternoon.
Edwin Jackson responded to the five runs his teammates put on the board by striking out the side in order in the fourth … 58 pitches for Jackson after four innings, 38 for strikes.
The Cubs led 5-0 after three and a half innings.
The Cubs managed a Mike Olt walk in the fourth inning, but that was all, and Edwin Jackson took the hill for the fifth inning with a 5-0 lead.
Edwin Jackson lost all command and walked Josh Harrison and Pedro Alvarez on eight pitches … two, four-pitch walks. The light-hitting Jordy Mercer pulled a 2-2 pitch into the first row of the bleachers. And just like that, the Cubs lead was cut to 5-3. Jackson somehow struck out Morton, retired Polanco on a grounder to first and caught Marte looking to end the inning. Jackson threw 86 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five innings.
Chris Coghlan led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo homer to right. The ball hit off the LED board and ended up in the basket … 6-3 Cubs. Morton retired Rizzo (grounder to Alvarez in the shift) and Castro (grounder to hole at short) before giving up a single to Ryan Sweeney. Schierholtz struck out swinging to end the inning.
After five complete, the Cubs led 6-3.
And that is the way the game ended. The Cubs pen kept the Pirates off the board over the last four innings with help from the wind while the offense was not able to string together any hits against Charlie Morton and the Pirates pen.
Travis Wood is scheduled to face Vance Worley on Saturday night (6:15pm CDT) under the lights in game two of three with the Pirates.