Game One Hundred Forty-Six – Cubs 9, Pirates 6
WP – Clayton Richard (4-2) LP – Charlie Morton (9-8) Save – Travis Wood (2)
The Cubs ended the 11-game road trip with an impressive victory in Pittsburgh. After jumping out to an early 3-0 lead, the Cubs were down 4-3 by the fifth inning. Anthony Rizzo launched a two-run homer that gave the Cubs the lead. Before the fifth was over, the Cubs scored six runs with Clayton Richard delivering a two-run double. The Pirates made it a three-run game with a pair of runs in the seventh. Travis Wood picked up the six-out save with two scoreless innings as the Cubs beat the Pirates on Thursday afternoon.
The Cubs took three of four from the Pirates and finished the trip with a 7-4 record. Thursday’s victory also gave the Cubs the season series against the Pirates (10-6).
Clayton Richard stepped up again and delivered an excellent outing in relief of Kyle Hendricks. Richard kept the Pirates off the board for three innings and delivered a two-run double. Richard was 1-for-2 at the plate with a double, two RBI and a run scored while on the mound he was charged with two runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings. Richard recorded eight groundball outs.
Kyle Hendricks had a poor start and was lifted after three innings. Hendricks worked out of a jam in the first inning without allowing any runs. The Pirates hit three home runs off Hendricks in the second and third that accounted for all four runs he allowed Thursday. Travis Snider and Gregory Polanco hit solo shots over the center field wall and Pedro Alvarez launched a two-run homer that gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead after three innings.
Kyle Hendricks allowed four runs on six hits, three home runs, in three innings. Hendricks hit a batter but did not issue a free pass. Hendricks struck out five on 63 pitches, 43 for strikes.
The Cubs were very aggressive against Charlie Morton and knocked him out of the game in the fifth. The Cubs pounded out 17 hits with four walks and left 12 men on base after going 5-for-20 with runners in scoring position.
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two RBI) turned the score around in the fifth with a two-run homer, his 30th longball of the season and the 100th of his Cubs career. And Kris Bryant (3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored) had another big game at the plate. It was the bottom of the Cubs lineup that was the difference in Thursday’s game.
Addison Russell (2-for-4 with a double, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored) and Tommy La Stella (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) were a combined 4-for-8 with two doubles, four RBI and two runs scored. Counting Richard’s two-run double, the last three spots in the Cubs lineup Thursday drove in six of the nine runs with three doubles and scored three runs.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 85-61 on the season and moved to within two games of the Pirates in the standings.
The Cubs were very aggressive against Charlie Morton in the first inning. Dexter Fowler smacked Morton’s first pitch into right for a single. Kyle Schwarber smoked a 0-1 pitch past Walker and into right. The ball ate him up. With two on and no outs, Chris Coghlan hit a grounder to Walker and he made a low throw to Jung Ho Kang covering second … and Kang dropped the ball. The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and an error.
Anthony Rizzo bounced a 1-1 pitch toward second. Neil Walker fielded the ball and threw to second. With Coghlan bearing down on him, Kang threw to first to complete the 4-6-3 double play. Fowler scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead.
On his slide into second, Coghlan took out Kang. It was a clean, legal slide but Coghlan hit Kang in his left knee. After a visit from the trainers, Kang had to be helped off the field. Jordy Mercer took over at shortstop.
With Schwarber at third, Kris Bryant flied out to left center (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Charlie Morton made 16 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the first inning.
Kyle Hendricks started his day by recording two quick outs. Hendricks caught Gregory Polanco looking and Starling Marte rolled out to Russell. Neil Walker singled to center. Jordy Mercer singled to center. And the Pirates had runners on first and second with two down. Hendricks fell behind Pedro Alvarez 3-0 before he caught him looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 1-0 lead after one inning.
Miguel Montero started the second with a single to right. Addison Russell pulled a 1-1 pitch down the third baseline. The ball rolled into the corner. Travis Snider had trouble getting the ball back in. Montero rumbled around the bases and scored, 2-0 Cubs. Russell held at second with a double. Hendricks failed to get the bunt down. Hendricks fouled a bunt attempt on a 1-2 pitch for the first out.
Tommy La Stella doubled to right (1-0 pitch). Russell scored and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead. Fowler grounded out to second, La Stella went to third but was stranded when Schwarber popped out to third. Morton needed 33 pitches, 24 for strikes, to complete two innings.
Kyle Hendricks retired Cervelli on a grounder to third base for the first out in the second. Travis Snider launched a 1-1 pitch over the center field wall and cut the Cubs lead to 3-1. Hendricks struck out Harrison (swinging) and Morton (looking) to end the second. Hendricks made 41 pitches, 29 for strikes, in two innings.
After two complete, the Cubs led 3-1.
Chris Coghlan stepped to the plate to a chorus of boos and went down swinging for the first out in the third. Rizzo walked on four pitches. Kris Bryant pulled Morton’s first pitch to left. Snider attempted a diving catch, came up short and the ball rolled to the wall. Rizzo stopped at third on a double by Bryant. Montero flied out to center. The ball was not hit deep enough for Rizzo to score. Morton intentionally walked Russell and loaded the bases with two outs. Kyle Hendricks struck out swinging to end the inning. The Cubs were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base in the first three innings.
Gregory Polanco led off the third and cranked a 3-1 pitch from Hendricks over the wall in center … 3-2 Cubs. Marte grounded out to second. Hendricks hit Neil Walker with a 0-1 breaking ball. Jordy Mercer singled to center. Fowler threw to third with Walker rounding second. Russell cut the ball off. Mercer was caught in a rundown (8-6-3-4-3) for the second out.
Pedro Alvarez crushed Hendricks’ first pitch and the towering home run to right, a two-run shot, gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Hendricks struck out Cervelli swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Pirates had a 4-3 lead after three innings.
The Cubs went in order in the fourth. Clayton Richard replaced Hendricks in the bottom of the fourth and retired the side in order. The game went to the fifth with the Cubs down 4-3.
Chris Coghlan started the fifth with a double to right center (2-1 pitch). And Anthony Rizzo launched a 1-0 pitch to deep right. The ball sailed into the stands and the Cubs took a 5-4 lead.
Kris Bryant followed Rizzo’s blast with a single to left and chased Charlie Morton from the game. Clint Hurdle brought in Joe Blanton to face Montero.
Miguel Montero hit a two-hopper past Alvarez and down the first baseline. Alvarez’s 20th error of the season put runners on the corners with no outs. Addison Russell pounded a 1-2 pitch back up the middle and into center. Bryant scored, 6-4 Cubs. Cervelli missed a 0-1 pitch to Richard and a passed ball put runners on second and third with no outs.
Clayton Richard lashed a 1-2 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall. Montero and Russell scored on a double by Richard, 8-4 Cubs. Tommy La Stella singled to center (3-2 pitch), Richard scored and the Cubs took a 9-4 lead. Hurdle went back to his bullpen for lefty Bobby LaFromboise. Fowler singled to left. Schwarber stepped in with runners on first and second and no outs. Schwarber rolled a 2-1 pitch to Walker. Fowler was forced at second base. Austin Jackson batted for Coghlan and hit a bouncer back up the middle that Walker caught behind the bag and turned into a 4-3 inning ending double play.
Clayton Richard pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
The Cubs had a 9-4 lead after five innings.
Josh Harrison led off the seventh inning with the Cubs still leading 9-4. Harrison pulled a 0-1 pitch to deep left. The ball hit on the track and hopped into the stands for a ground rule double. Chris Stewart grounded out to short. Harrison went to third.
Gregory Polanco launched a 0-2 pitch off the top of the wall in right. Polanco just missed a home run. Harrison scored on a very long single by Polanco, 9-5 Cubs. And that was all for Clayton Richard. Maddon went to his bullpen for Justin Grimm.
On the first pitch to Marte, Polanco stole second. Starling Marte flied out to deep right. Polanco tagged and went to third. Neil Walker drove a 1-0 pitch to left. Chris Denorfia ran back and made a diving attempt on the track. Denorfia could not make the play, the ball skipped into the stands. Polanco scored and Walker ended up a second with a ground rule double, 9-6 Cubs. Grimm struck out Mercer swinging to end the inning.
After seven complete, the Cubs led 9-6.
And that would be the final score. Travis Wood took over in the eighth and retired all six batters he faced over the last two innings to close out the game.
The Cubs open the final homestand of the regular season Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) with the first of three against the Cardinals. Dan Haren takes on Lance Lynn in the opener.