Game Thirteen – Cubs 9, Pirates 8
WP – Edwin Jackson (1-0) LP – Mark Melancon (0-1, BS 1) Save – Hector Rondon (3)
The Cubs entered the ninth down 8-6. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with two runs scored and a HBP) led off with a single and advanced to third on a double by Jorge Soler (2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored). Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored and two RBI) walked to load the bases.
Starlin Castro (3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI) bounced a 1-1 pitch over Josh Harrison and into left field. Rizzo and Soler scored and tied the game at eight. Bryant advanced to third on the play and scored when Welington Castillo (2-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI) chopped Mark Melancon’s first offering over the mound.
Hector Rondon pitched a perfect ninth and the Cubs took game two in Pittsburgh from the Pirates on Tuesday night.
The Cubs outhit their own bullpen Tuesday night. The Cubs scored at least one run in seven of their nine at bats with 12 hits, four walks and a hit by pitch.
Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant and Welington Castillo collected two hits apiece and Starlin Castro had three hits on Tuesday night. Bryant, Castro and Castillo recorded all eight of the Cubs RBI.
Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo drove in the Cubs last six runs. And Addison Russell went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his big league debut.
The Cubs made Francisco Liriano work and knocked him out of the game in the fifth inning. Clint Hurdle having to use his middle relievers paid dividends for the Cubs in a one-run victory.
Travis Wood made three mistakes Tuesday night in his five-plus innings of work. Wood gave up solo homers to Josh Harrison in the first inning and Starling Marte in the second. And he walked Neil Walker to start the sixth. Wood turned the game over to the bullpen with one on and no outs in the sixth with the Cubs leading 4-2.
Travis Wood ended up allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Wood threw 84 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five-plus innings.
Brian Schlitter had another bad outing. Schlitter replaced Wood in the sixth and the Cubs lead quickly disappeared. Schlitter was tagged for two runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. And he allowed an inherited runner to score.
After Phil Coke cleaned up Schlitter’s mess in the sixth by striking out Gregory Polanco with two on to end the inning, Jason Motte gave up three more runs in the seventh. Jung Ho Kang hit a bases clearing double off Motte that gave the Pirates an 8-5 lead.
The Pirates scored six runs on five hits off Schlitter and Motte in 1 2/3 innings.
Edwin Jackson was very sharp in the eighth and retired the side in order on 11 pitches, seven for strikes. And Hector Rondon picked up the save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning (13 pitches, eight for strikes).
These Cubs do not quit …
Dexter Fowler (0-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored) walked to start the game. Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch for the sixth time this season. Jorge Soler stepped in and Joe West called Soler out on strikes on a pitch that appeared to be around his ankles.
Kris Bryant gave the Cubs an early lead with a double off the wall in right center. Fowler scored, 1-0 Cubs. With runners on second and third and one down, Clint Hurdle left his infield back. Francisco Liriano got Starlin Castro to chase and struck him out swinging (1-2 pitch). Chris Denorfia grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Cubs lead didn’t last long. Josh Harrison led off the Pirates’ first with a home run to right center. And just like that the game was tied at one. Travis Wood refocused and retired Neil Walker (pop out shallow center), Andrew McCutchen (flyout to right) and Corey Hart (grounder to short) to end the inning.
After one the game was tied at one.
The Cubs went down in order in the second, but still made Liriano work. Liriano needed 38 pitches, 22 for strikes, to complete two frames.
Starling Marte led off the second and gave the Pirates the lead. Marte tried to bunt his way on but was unsuccessful. Marte swung away and crushed a 0-1 pitch to center … Pirates 2, Cubs 1. Wood got Kang to groundout to third. Wood walked Cervelli before striking out Sean Rodriguez and Liriano to end the inning.
The top of the lineup went back to work against Liriano in the third down 2-1.
Fowler walked to start the third and moved up ninety feet when Rizzo singled to right (0-2 pitch). Soler flied out to center (1-0), Fowler tagged and moved to third with one out. Kris Bryant grounded a 2-1 pitch toward first. The ball rolled under Corey Hart’s glove into shallow right. Fowler scored and tied the game at two. Rizzo advanced to third on the play and scored on a Starlin Castro singled to left, 3-2 Cubs. With two on and two down, Chris Denorfia struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) and Welington Castillo (3-2 pitch) grounded out to short for the third out. Liriano needed 69 pitches, 39 for strikes, to complete three innings.
Travis Wood pitched a 1-2-3 third inning. Wood threw 50 pitches, 32 for strikes, over three innings and the Cubs led 3-2.
The Cubs could not add to their lead against Liriano before Clint Hurdle went to his pen in the sixth inning. Liriano threw 97 pitches, 57 for strikes, in five innings.
Starlin Castro led off the sixth against Radhames Liz and launched his second homer of the season over the wall in center … 4-2 Cubs. After Denorfia struck out swinging, Welington Castillo drove a 1-0 pitch to the deepest part of PNC Park. The ball hit of the wall and Castillo ended up with a double. Travis Wood grounded out to short, Castillo moved to third but was stranded when Addison Russell struck out swinging.
Travis Wood started the sixth with the Cubs up 4-2 after throwing 78 pitches, 49 for strikes, through five innings. Wood walked Neil Walker and Maddon went to his pen.
Brian Schlitter replaced Wood and walked Andrew McCutchen. Pedro Alvarez hit for Hart and grounded out to short. McCutchen was forced at second. With runners on first and third with one down, Starling Marte singled to left, Walker scored and cut the Cubs lead to 4-3. Jung Ho Kang hit a chopper toward second. Russell made an excellent pick on the short hop and threw him out at first. Both runners moved up 90 feet. With Alvarez on third, Marte on second and two outs, Francisco Cervelli grounded Schlitter’s first pitch back up the middle. Alvarez and Marte scored, 5-4 Pirates. Sean Rodriguez singled to center. With two on and two down, Clint Hurdle send up Gregory Polanco to hit for Liz. As soon as Polanco was announced, Maddon went to his pen for Phil Coke. Coke struck out Polanco swinging to end the inning.
After six innings, the Cubs trailed 5-4.
Jared Hughes started the seventh for the Pirates. And Jorge Soler started another rally.
After Fowler (grounder to second) and Rizzo (flyout to left center) made the first two outs, Jorge Soler singled to left. Bryant singled to left center. Soler advanced to third with two down.
Starlin Castro chopped Hughes’ first pitch toward third. Harrison charged the ball and tried to pick it. The ball hit off the heel of his glove and bounced away as Soler scored and tied the game at five. Chris Coghlan singled to right. Polanco charged the ball and threw a strike toward the plate. Bryant was tagged out to end the inning. Maddon asked for a replay, the umps looked but the call stood.
Jason Motte took the hill for the seventh. Harrison grounded out to Castro for the first out. Neil Walker reached on an infield single to third. Bryant airmailed his throw to first, but Walker would have been safe. An error was not given because the ball did not leave the field. Motte hit McCutchen. With runners on first and second and one down, Andrew Lambo batted for Hughes and grounded out to first. Walker advanced to third as McCutchen was forced at second. Maddon had Motte walk Marte to load the bases.
Jung Ho Kang collected his first big league RBI with a double to right center that cleared the base … 8-5 Pirates. And based on recent years, the game appeared to be over at that point. Motte retired Cervelli on a grounded to Castro to end the inning.
Tony Watson started the started the eighth for the Pirates. Welington Castillo greeted him with a homer to center … 8-6 Pirates. Watson set down David Ross (pop out), Russell (swinging strikeout) and Fowler (strikeout looking).
Edwin Jackson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Mark Melancon made his way to the mound for the ninth with the Pirates up 8-6.
Anthony Rizzo led off with a bloop single to center. Jorge Soler doubled to right center. Rizzo stopped at third with no outs. Bryant wouldn’t chase and walked to load the bases with no outs.
Starlin Castro bounced a 1-1 pitch over Harrison’s head and into left field. Rizzo and Soler scored, and the game was tied at eight. Bryant advanced to third on the play. With runners on the corners and no outs, Coghlan struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Welington Castillo chopped Melancon’s first pitch over the mound. Walker fielded the ball as Bryant scored the go ahead run. Castillo was thrown out at first. Miguel Montero was intentionally walked and Russell lined out to short to end the inning.
Hector Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth … Cubs Win!
Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Vance Worley in game three under the lights on Wednesday night.