Game Twenty – Cubs 1, Pirates 8
WP – Gerrit Cole (4-0) LP – Kyle Hendricks (0-1) Save – None
The Cubs managed only one run against Pirates’ ace Gerrit Cole while Kyle Hendricks gave the Pirates too many opportunities on Wednesday night as the Pirates salvaged the finale of the three game series at Wrigley Field.
Even with the loss, the Cubs won the series (2-1) and finished April with a 12-8 record.
The Cubs took advantage of the Pirates defense in the second inning and put a run on the board. Miguel Montero (3-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Kris Bryant (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored). After Pedro Alvarez’s second error, Gerrit Cole took over and the Cubs could not string together any hits against the young right hander. Cole dominated the Cubs for six innings and improved to 6-0 against the Cubs in six career starts.
While the Cubs were struggling to put the bat on the ball against Gerrit Cole, Kyle Hendricks had trouble throwing strikes. Hendricks pitched from behind for a majority of his five innings Wednesday night and helped out the Pirates offense. Hendricks gave the Pirates four free baserunners. Hendricks hit a batter and walked three, the third free pass to Starling Marte forced in the go ahead run.
Kyle Hendricks turned the game over to the pen after just five innings. Hendricks gave up two runs on five hits with three walks and a hit batsman. Hendricks struck out six batters and threw 96 pitches, 54 for strikes.
The sixth inning issues continued for the Cubs’ pen. And it was Gonzalez Germen’s turn on Wednesday night. The Pirates sent nine to the plate in the sixth against Gonzalez Germen and scored four runs on four hits and two walks. The big hit in the sixth, a two-run triple to center off the bat of Andrew McCutchen that appeared to take the life out of the Cubs on a cold night at Wrigley.
Edwin Jackson completed two more scoreless innings in mop-up duty. Jackson gave up three hits but no walks and struck out three batters in the seventh and eighth innings.
The Cubs scored one run on seven hits, all singles, with one walk. The Cubs struck out 14 times and managed only three hits off Gerrit Cole.
Andrew McCutchen collected the 1,000th hit of his big league career Wednesday night with an infield single in the eighth inning. With the way McCutchen has hit Cubs’ pitching throughout his career, it seemed only fitting he would reach the milestone at Wrigley Field.
With Wednesday night’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 12-8 on the season.
Kris Bryant led off the second inning of a scoreless game and was awarded first base by C.B. Bucknor. Bryant worked a full count and tried to check his swing on a 3-2 pitch. Bryant appeared to swing, replays showed he did, but first base umpire C.B. Bucknor ruled he did not swing.
Gerrit Cole threw over to first to keep Bryant close with Montero at the plate. The ball went through the webbing of Pedro Alvarez’s glove. Bryant ended up at second on the equipment malfunction.
Miguel Montero pulled a 3-2 pitch toward the hole at second. Alvarez tried to make a diving stop, the ball went off the end of his glove and deflected past Neil Walker into shallow right. Bryant scored, 1-0 Cubs. Cole threw over to first with Castro at the plate. The ball hit off Alvarez’s glove, bounced into foul territory and Montero moved up 90 feet on Alvarez’s second error of the inning. Cole appeared not-too-happy with his first baseman and took matters into his own hands. Cole struck out Starlin Castro (looking), Chris Coghlan (swinging) and Kyle Hendricks (looking) to end the inning. The Cubs forced Cole to throw 31 pitches in the second inning and 41 for the game, 23 for strikes, in two innings.
The Cubs led 1-0 after two innings.
Neil Walker led off fourth with a single to left (3-1 pitch). Starling Marte hit a grounder to Castro. Walker was forced at second but the Cubs could not double up the speedy Marte and he took over at first base. Marte took off for second on a 0-2 pitch to Pedro Alvarez, the ball skipped past Castro and into shallow center. Marte ended up at third with one out. Hendricks struck out Alvarez swinging for the second out.
Jung Ho Kang blooped a 2-2 pitch into left center. Marte trotted in and tied the game at one. Hendricks retired Chris Stewart on a grounder to short for the third out.
Gerrit Cole faced the minimum in the fourth as he settled in. Cole needed only 69 pitches, 41 for strikes, to complete four innings. And after four complete, the game was tied at one.
Kyle Hendricks really struggled in the fifth inning and the Pirates took advantage of his poor command. Gerrit Cole smoked a 2-0 pitch toward third. Bryant knocked down the ball but did not have a play. Gregory Polanco bounced a 2-2 pitch toward Herrera. Cole was forced at second but Polanco reached first base. As Hendricks continued to struggle, he fell behind Mercer 3-1. Clint Hurdle started Polanco and Jordy Mercer singled to left through the vacated hole created by Castro moving to cover the bag. Polanco motored to third with one down. Hendricks struck out Andrew McCutchen for the second out.
Kyle Hendricks hit Neil Walker and loaded the bases for Starling Marte.
Instead of making the Pirates earn a run, Hendricks missed on a 3-2 pitch, walked Marte and forced in the go ahead run. With the bases loaded, Hendricks missed on his first two pitches to Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates first baseman smoked Hendricks’ third pitch of the at bat to the right of second base. Jonathan Herrera made a diving stop and threw to Castro covering second base. Marte was called safe, replays showed Marte was out and Maddon asked the umps to take another look. The call was overturned, but the damage had been done. And the Pirates took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
The Cubs went down in order rather quickly in the fifth and the Pirates put the game out of reach in the sixth inning.
The Cubs could not allow the Pirates to tack on in the sixth with Gerrit Cole on the hill. But Gonzalez Germen was simply not up to the task Wednesday night.
Germen struck out Kang swinging for the first out. Chris Stewart doubled to left. And Germen struck out Cole swinging for the second out. Maddon decided to intentionally walk Gregory Polanco, and it cost him a bunch of runs. Jordy Mercer singled to center on a 0-2 pitch. Stewart scored and Mercer advanced to second on the throw to the plate, 3-1 Pirates.
Andrew McCutchen drove a 1-1 pitch to deep center. Fowler tried to make an over the shoulder catch, but could not get to the ball. McCutchen ended up at third with a two run triple and the Pirates took a 5-1 lead. Germen walked Neil Walker. With runners on the corners and two down, Marte singled to center. McCutchen scored, 6-1 Pirates. The inning finally came to an end when Pedro Alvarez popped out to third.
Gerrit Cole set the Cubs down in order in the sixth. Cole retired 14 of the last 15 men he faced and the Pirates led 6-1 after six innings.
Edwin Jackson kept the Pirates from tacking on in the seventh and eighth innings. But the Pirates hit Phil Coke rather hard in the ninth inning.
Pedro Alvarez led off the ninth with a double and scored on a double by Kang. Chris Stewart singled to right. Kang advanced to third and scored when pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez rolled into a 6-4-3 double play. Coke retired Polanco on a grounder to Rizzo to finally put an end to the Pirates’ hit parade.
The Cubs managed a Miguel Montero single with two down in the ninth. With Montero at second, Starlin Castro struck out swinging to end the game.
Thursday is a scheduled off day. The Cubs open a three-game series at Wrigley against the Brewers on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). Jon Lester is scheduled to face Wily Peralta in game one.