Game Eighteen – Cubs 4, Pirates 0
WP – Jason Hammel (2-1) LP – Vance Worley (2-2) Save – None
Jason Hammel clearly put together his best outing of the season. Hammel scattered four hits over eight innings and did not walk a batter. Hammel kept the leadoff hitter off base in each of his eight innings of work and the Pirates put only one runner on third base all night.
Jason Hammel made his biggest pitch of the game in the fifth. With the Cubs leading 3-0 and men on second and third with two outs, Hammel struck out Josh Harrison swinging to end the inning.
Jason Hammel worked extremely well with Miguel Montero, found an early rhythm and pounded the strike zone throughout his eight innings of work. Hammel struck out a season-high seven batters. Hammel was in total control before handing the ball to Pedro Strop in the ninth. And Strop completed the shut out with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Jason Hammel’s final line: 0 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks and 7 strikeouts in 8 innings (107 pitches, 71 strikes)
All four runs Monday night scored on two-out basehits by Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. But the two-out, three-run rally in the third inning started with a walk by Dexter Fowler (2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a stolen base). Fowler went from 1-2 to 4-2 and set it up for the middle of the lineup.
Jorge Soler (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) snapped his 0-for-15 slide with a double in the first inning, and he kept the line moving with a single to right center (2-2 pitch) in the third. Fowler advanced to third and scored on a double to right center by Anthony Rizzo (2-0 pitch).
Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with two RBI) stepped in with runners on second and third and made it 3-0 with a single to right center (2-2 pitch) that plated Soler and Rizzo.
The Cubs added a run in the fifth on the third two-out basehit of the night.
Addison Russell (1-for-3 with a run scored) reached on a dribbler to third leading off the fifth. After Dexter Fowler blooped a single into left, Jorge Soler rapped into a 5-4-3 double play. But Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, a walk and a run scored) singled to right center and plated Russell with the Cubs’ fourth and final run of the night.
Jorge Soler, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, the two, three and four hitters in the lineup, were a combined 6-for-11 with two doubles, two runs scored, a walk and four RBI. And Chris Coghlan had the loudest 0-for-4 night a player can have. Coghlan flied out to the warning track in left in his first three at bats and lined into a 5-3 inning ending double play in the eighth.
On an extremely cold night (44 degrees at first pitch, 34 degrees wind chill), the Cubs snapped the Pirates five-game winning streak at Wrigley Field. And with Monday night’s win, the Cubs improved to 11-7 on the season. The Cubs will finish April with a winning record, only the second time since 2006 the Cubs have finished the first month of the season with a record above .500 (17-10 in 2008, 13-10 in 2006).
Travis Wood faces Jeff Locke in game two of three with the Pirates on Tuesday night (7:05pm CDT).