Game One Hundred Forty-Five – Cubs 3, Pirates 2 – 12 innings
WP – Hector Rondon (6-4) LP – Vance Worley (4-6) Save – None
Chris Denorfia led off the 12th inning with the game tied at two. Denorfia singled to right center and Quintin Berry ran for Denorfia. A wild pitch and an Austin Jackson single later and Berry was on third with no outs. Anthony Rizzo plated Berry with a sacrifice fly to left center. And Hector Rondon retired Jung Ho Kang on a soft liner to Javier Baez to end the game as the Cubs beat the Pirates on Wednesday night.
The Cubs found a way to win a game Wednesday night in which the offense really struggled with runners in scoring position. Two of the Cubs runs scored on a squeeze bunt and a sac fly and the bullpen stepped up in relief of Jake Arrieta.
Jake Arrieta had a very good outing. Arrieta allowed one unearned run in the first seven innings. The Pirates run scored on Arrieta’s own throwing error in the sixth inning. And the Pirates tied the game in the eighth. With the bases loaded and one out, Gregory Polanco bounced Arrieta’s first pitch toward second. Castro charged the ball, and threw to first as the tying run scored. But the Cubs caught Josh Harrison rounding third and he was tagged out to end the inning.
Jake Arrieta faced one of the minimum in five innings and allowed one unearned run on four hits in six innings. Arrieta threw strikes and pounded the zone before his pitch count was elevated in the eighth inning. Arrieta ended up with a no decision Wednesday in his bid for win No. 20.
The bullpen had a good night and let only two runners reach base over the last four innings of the game. Pedro Strop faced the minimum in the ninth. Fernando Rodney pitched a clean 10th inning. And Hector Rondon kept the Pirates off the board for two innings. Rondon allowed one hit, a two-out single by Aramis Ramirez in the 12th inning. Rondon made 33 pitches, 22 for strikes.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a walk, a sac fly RBI and a run scored) and Kris Bryant (3-for-6 with two doubles, a RBI and a run scored) were in the middle of the scoring Wednesday night. And a surprise call by Joe Maddon in the sixth allowed the Cubs to take a 2-0 lead.
Anthony Rizzo singled with one out in the sixth, stole second and scored on a double from Kris Bryant. Miguel Montero (2-for-4) singled to right and chased A.J. Burnett from the game.
Starlin Castro (0-for-4 with a SAC RBI) stepped in with Bryant on third and Montero on first. Maddon called for the squeeze bunt. Castro pushed the ball up the first baseline and Bryant scored from third.
The game should have not gone into extra innings. The Cubs put runners in scoring position in four of the first five innings against A.J. Burnett and could not push across a run. The Cubs finished the night 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 84-61 on the season and moved to within three games of the Pirates in the standings.
The Cubs and Pirates did not score in the first five innings. The Cubs had plenty of chances against A.J. Burnett. After five innings, the Cubs were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base.
Jake Arrieta allowed three singles and faced one over the minimum through five innings. Arrieta made 69 pitches, 50 for strikes.
Chris Coghlan led off the sixth inning of a scoreless game and rolled out to Aramis Ramirez at first. Anthony Rizzo singled to left on a 1-2 pitch. Rizzo swiped second on a 2-2 pitch to Bryant. Cervelli tried to frame the pitch and did not make a throw.
Kris Bryant smoked a 3-2 pitch over Marte’s head in left. Rizzo scored and Bryant ended up a second with a double … 1-0 Cubs. Miguel Montero smoked a single to right. Bryant was held at third with one out and Clint Hurdle replaced A.J. Burnett with Jared Hughes.
Joe Maddon called for a suicide squeeze on the first pitch to Castro after the pitching change. Starlin Castro pushed the ball up the first baseline. Bryant scored and Castro reached as Hughes made a low throw to first … 2-0 Cubs. With runners on first and second, Javier Baez could not check his swing on a 1-2 offering and was the second out of the inning. Jake Arrieta pulled a 1-2 pitch to the hole at short. Jung Ho Kang dove, got a glove on the ball and kept it from rolling to the outfield. The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs. Dexter Fowler smashed a 3-2 pitch toward first. Ramirez played the bad hop and beat Fowler to the bag to end the inning.
Jake Arrieta retired Jordy Mercer (flyout to left center) and pinch-hitter Jaff Decker (swinging strikeout). Gregory Polanco singled to center. Polanco stole second on a 2-1 pitch to Marte. Montero made a good throw. Polanco slid in under Castro’s tag. Marte bounced a 3-2 pitch back to the mound. Arrieta fielded the ball but he lobbed the throw over Rizzo. The ball hit the top of his glove and Polanco scored, 2-1 Cubs. Rizzo threw a strike to Baez, who made an excellent tag on Marte at second to end the inning. Arrieta made 89 pitches, 62 for strikes, in six innings.
At the end of six, the Cubs had a 2-1 lead.
The Cubs did nothing against Antonio Bastardo in the seventh. And could not drive in Miguel Montero from third in the eighth with one down. Starlin Castro struck out swinging for the second out in the eighth. After Javier Baez was intentionally walked, Maddon had Jake Arrieta hit with runners on the corners and one down. Baez took second on the second pitch to Arrieta. Joe Blanton struck out Arrieta swinging to end the inning.
Arrieta took the hill for the eighth with the Cubs leading 2-1. Neil Walker rolled a 1-2 pitch toward the hole at second. Rizzo got to the ball and flipped to Arrieta, but he was unable to secure the ball. Hurdle started pinch-runner Pedro Florimon on a 2-1 offering to Cervelli. Baez appeared to move toward second to cover the bag. Baez tried to reach back and snag the ball. It went off his glove and trickled into shallow left center. Florimon motored to third.
Josh Harrison hit for Jordy Mercer and smoked Arrieta’s first pitch toward short. Javier Baez fielded the ball cleanly and came up throwing. Baez threw a strike to Montero, Florimon was tagged out. The Pirates challenged the call claiming that Montero was blocking the plate. The play was reviewed and upheld. Baez’s throw took Montero into the lane. Sean Rodriguez ran for Cervelli at second and Pedro Alvarez batted for Blanton with runners on first and second with one down. Arrieta walked Alvarez to load the bases.
Gregory Polanco rolled Arrieta’s first pitch toward second. Castro fielded the grounder and threw to first. Rodriguez scored and tied the game at one. Pedro Alvarez stopped in between first and second. Alvarez tried to get caught in a rundown to allow Harrison to score. Rizzo threw to Baez, who saw Harrison round third. Baez fired home, Montero threw back to Bryant and he applied the tag on Harrison in foul ground to end the inning (4-3-6-2-5).
The Cubs and Pirates were tied at two after eight innings.
The Cubs did nothing against Mark Melancon in the ninth. And Pedro Strop faced the minimum in the ninth after Starlin Castro started a spectacular 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
The game went to the 10th all tied at two.
Neither team could push across a run in the 10th or 11th innings. And the game went to the 12th still tied at two.
Chris Denorfia led off the 12th with a single to right center off Vance Worley. Maddon sent in Quintin Berry in to run for Denorfia. Berry moved to second on a 1-1 pitch in the dirt to Austin Jackson. Berry read the pitch perfectly and advanced into scoring position. Jackson smoked a 2-1 pitch into right. Polanco tried to run in and make a catch. The ball fell in front of him. Berry stopped at third with no outs.
Anthony Rizzo lifted a 1-0 pitch from Worley into left center. Starling Marte made a sliding catch, Berry tagged and scored … 3-2 Cubs. Jackson stole second as Bryant struck out swinging. David Ross popped out to Harrison at second to end the inning.
The game went to the bottom of the 12th with the Cubs up by one run.
Hector Rondon retired the side in order in the 11th inning on 11 pitches and went back out for the 12th. Marte popped out to Castro in shallow right for the first out. McCutchen struck out swinging. Aramis Ramirez singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Jung Ho Kang hit a soft liner to Baez to end the game.
Kyle Hendricks faces Charlie Morton in the series finale on Thursday morning (11:35am CDT).