Game One Hundred Six – Cubs 5, Pirates 7
WP – Antonio Bastardo (3-1) LP – Travis Wood (5-4) Save – Mark Melancon (34)
The Cubs scored three runs in the sixth inning on a two-run homer by Kyle Schwarber and a solo blast from Anthony Rizzo and tied the game at four. The Pirates broke the tie with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on as the Cubs ended up with a split of the two-game series in Pittsburgh.
Mistakes by the defense ended up being the difference in Wednesday’s game. A Kris Bryant error in the first prolonged the inning and led to the Pirates second run. And miscommunication between Kris Bryant and Starlin Castro gave the Pirates a run in the fifth on what should have been the third out of the inning.
As has been the case this season, the Cubs did not quit and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning. It is very difficult to beat a good team in their park and almost impossible when you give them extra outs.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a home run, sac fly and two RBI) and Kyle Schwarber (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, two RBI and two runs scored) was the Cubs offense Wednesday night. The lefties drove in four of the five runs and hit two mammoth home runs off southpaw Jeff Locke.
Kyle Schwarber led off the fourth with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly by Anthony Rizzo.
The two sluggers tied the game in the sixth. Dexter Fowler (0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) worked a one out walk. Kyle Schwarber hit a towering homer to center and made it a 4-3 game. Anthony Rizzo tied the game at four with a solo blast to right.
Addison Russell (0-for-4 with a RBI) made it a two-run game again in the ninth when he plated Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) from third with a grounder to short. With Matt Szczur (1-for-1 with a double) still at second after his pinch-hit double put Castro at third, Fowler struck out swinging to end the game.
Dan Haren made his Cubs’ debut and put together a solid start. Haren pitched better than his final line over five innings. Haren served up two home runs (Gregory Polanco, Andrew McCutchen) but the Cubs’ defense gave the Pirates the other two runs he was charged with on Wednesday night. Haren was lifted for pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan in the sixth with bases loaded and two outs.
Dan Haren allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Haren made 87 pitches, 57 for strikes, in five innings.
Travis Wood did not have it and let the Pirates take the lead in the sixth inning. Wood gave up three straight one-out hits and was hung with a second earned run after he turned the game over to Pedro Strop.
Jason Motte was left in too long and the Pirates tacked on in the eighth before Joe Maddon got him out of the game. James Russell retired all three batters he faced in the eighth.
The Cubs finished the road trip with a 5-1 record as the six-game winning streak came to an end. With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 58-48 on the season.
The Cubs went down in order rather quickly in the first inning. Jeff Locke threw only 10 pitches, eight for strikes. And the Pirates jumped on Dan Haren in the home half.
Gregory Polanco pulled Haren’s four pitch (2-1 count) into the stands in right. And just like that the Cubs were trailing in a game for the first time since last Thursday. Haren struck out Starling Marte looking. Andrew McCutchen walked and moved to second on a single to right by Aramis Ramirez. Jung Ho Kang hit a grounder toward third. Kris Bryant looked to turn a double play before he had the ball. Bryant booted it and the Pirates loaded the bases with one out.
Neil Walker popped out to left. The ball was not hit far enough for McCutchen to tag. Pedro Alvarez blooped a 2-2 pitch into left. McCutchen scored but Chris Denorfia threw out Ramirez at the plate to end the inning. Haren made 29 pitches in the first, 20 for strikes.
The Pirates had a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Chris Denorfia led off the third with a single to right. Dan Haren bunted him to second. But Addison Russell flied out to right and Dexter Fowler flied out to center to end the inning.
Starling Marte popped out to right center for the first out in the third inning. Andrew McCutchen made it a 3-0 Pirates lead with a towering homer to center. Haren retired Ramirez (pop out to left) and Kang (fly out to right) to end the inning. Haren needed 58 pitches, 39 for strikes, to complete three innings.
After three complete, the Pirates led 3-0.
The Cubs started chipping away in the fourth inning. Kyle Schwarber led off the inning with a double into the right field corner. Kris Bryant struck out swinging. A wild pitch from Jeff Locke on the first offering to Rizzo got away from Cervelli. Schwarber scampered to third with one out.
Anthony Rizzo lifted a 2-0 pitch out to right. Schwarber tagged and scored, 3-1 Pirates. Jorge Soler grounded out to short for the third out.
Dan Haren pitched around a leadoff walk to Neil Walker in the bottom of the inning. After Walker earned the free pass, a wild pitch with Alvarez at the plate allowed Walker to move up 90 feet. Haren struck out Alvarez. Francisco Cervelli grounded a 1-0 pitch to Russell in the shift. Russell threw to third. Walker stopped and Bryant ran him back toward second. As Russell caught the ball from Bryant and tried to tag Walker as he hopped out of the baseline. Walker dove into the bag but was called out for leaving the baseline. Locke popped out to left for the third out. Haren threw 74 pitches, 47 for strikes, in four innings.
The Cubs trailed 3-1 after four innings.
Jeff Locke pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning. Locke allowed only two hits through five and the Pirates went back to work against Haren in the bottom of the inning.
Polanco popped out to Castro for the first out. Starling Marte reached on an infield single to the hole at short. McCutchen lined out to third base. Marte swiped second with Ramirez at the plate.
Aramis Ramirez hit a harmless dribbler to the left side of the infield. Bryant appeared to have a play but let the ball go and Castro, who was right behind him did not make the play either. A grounder that should have ended the inning allowed Marte to score … 4-1 Pirates. Kang followed with a single to left. With runners on first and second with two outs, Walker lined out to Russell for the third out.
The Pirates had a 4-1 lead after five innings.
Dexter Fowler walked with one out in the sixth and extended his on-base streak to 19 games. Kyle Schwarber launched a 1-1 pitch to deep center … and the ball just got out of the park and made it a 4-3 game. Bryant grounded out to short for the second out.
Anthony Rizzo crushed Locke’s first pitch … and Rizzo tied the game with a solo homer to right.
Clint Hurdle went to his pen for Jared Hughes.
Jorge Soler restarted the inning with a single to center. Starlin Castro and Chris Denorfia walked to load the bases. Maddon pulled Haren back and sent up Chris Coghlan. Hurdle countered with lefty Antonio Bastardo. Chris Coghlan grounded out to first base to end the inning.
Travis Wood replaced Haren for the sixth inning. And Wood struggled.
Cervelli singled to left with one out. Michael Morse hit for Bastardo and singled to left. Gregory Polanco pulled a 2-1 pitch past Russell and into right. Cervelli scored, 5-4 Pirates. With runners on first and second and one down, Maddon switched out Travis Wood with Pedro Strop. And Strop walked Marte to load the bases.
Andrew McCutchen lined a 0-1 pitch to right. Soler caught the ball. Sean Rodriguez, who pinch ran for Morse at second base, tagged and scored … 6-4 Pirates. Strop struck out Ramirez swinging to finally end the inning.
After six innings, the Pirates had a 6-4 lead.
The Cubs could not cut into the Pirates lead in the seventh against Joakim Soria or in the eighth against Tony Watson. The Pirates added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.
Jason Motte tossed a scoreless seventh inning and was left in to start the eighth. Francisco Cervelli led off with a triple to right center. With the infield in, Sean Rodriguez singled to center on a 3-2 pitch. Cervelli scored, 7-4 Pirates. Maddon finally made the slow walk and brought in James Russell.
Russell picked off Rodriguez from first base. Polanco was called out on strikes and Marte grounded out to Bryant for the third out.
Mark Melancon took over in the ninth with the Pirates leading 7-4.
Starlin Castro started the ninth with a single to center. Denorfia struck out swinging. Matt Szczur batted for James Russell and just missed a two-run homer. Szczur doubled off the wall in right and Addison Russell stepped in with runners on second and third with one out. Russell grounded out to short. Castro scored, 7-5 Pirates. Dexter Fowler struck out swinging to end the game.
The Cubs begin a seven-game homestand Thursday night (7:05pm CDT) with the first of four against the Giants. Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Chris Heston in the opener.
With the Cubs loss and Giants victory over the Braves, the Cubs will begin play Thursday night a half game behind the Giants for the second NL Wild Card.