Game Thirty-Four – Cubs 9, Pirates 4
WP – Jason Hammel (5-0) LP – Francisco Liriano (3-2) Save – None
Addison Russell hit a mammoth three-run homer in the fourth. The Cubs went yard two more times in the fifth, a two-run shot from Kris Bryant and a three-run dinger from David Ross. The Cubs added a run in the eighth on a double by Dexter Fowler. Jason Hammel had an excellent outing and the Cubs snapped the two-game losing streak with a win over the Pirates at the old ballyard.
Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) and Jason Hammel were the difference early in Friday’s game.
Jason Hammel did his job on the mound. Addison Russell made the plays in the field before cranking a three-run homer in the fourth inning that seemed to loosen up his teammates.
Ben Zobrist (1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored) started the three-run fourth inning with a single to left. Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) put together a very good at-bat and walked.
Addison Russell got the call on a 2-2 pitch and worked a full count. Russell launched Liriano’s next pitch, a 3-2 offering, into the bleachers in left field. Liriano was not the same after not getting the call and the Cubs pounced.
The Cubs turned on the offense in the fifth and knocked Francisco Liriano out of the game.
Jason Heyward (1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored) led off the fifth with a single to center and was on board when Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) pulled his sixth homer of the season into the bleachers in left center.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) restarted the fifth with a double to center. Rizzo drove the ball to the vines. Andrew McCutchen tried to make a leaping catch at the bricks. The ball hit off his glove and Rizzo strolled into second base. Zobrist walked. Soler struck out swinging and Russell was called out on strikes.
David Ross (3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI) homered to left center. And his three-run dinger gave the Cubs an 8-0 lead. Ross had three hits Friday and is one longball short of 100 for his career.
David Ross collected his third hit in the eighth with one out. A passed ball allowed Ross to move to second and he scored on a Dexter Fowler (1-for-5 with a double and a RBI) double to right center.
The Cubs scored nine runs on 11 hits with four walks. Each of the starters Friday, including Jason Hammel, had at least one hit.
Jason Hammel completed his longest outing of the season. And it was a good one. Hammel outpitched Francisco Liriano with excellent command. Hammel was ahead in the count throughout his 6 2/3 innings and found an early rhythm with David Ross. Hammel located his fastball extremely well and had a devastating slider on Friday afternoon.
Hammel was charged with two runs, one earned, on eight hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. A throwing error by David Ross gave the Pirates their first run and set it up where the Pirates could score from third base on a swinging bunt off the bat of Francisco Cervelli in the sixth inning.
Hammel set the Pirates down in order only one innning, the fourth. Hammel controlled the game much better than the final line and numbers indicate.
Hammel turned the game over to the pen with two outs in the seventh. Hammel issued a two-out walk to John Jaso and Joe Maddon made the slow walk with the Cubs leading 8-2. Adam Warren replaced Hammel and recorded the third out by inducing a grounder to third off the bat of Andrew McCutchen. Hammel made 103 pitches, 65 for strikes, and set the tone for a series with the Pirates for the second time this season.
Adam Warren retired the only batter he faced Friday to close out the seventh. Clayton Richard gave up another hit to a lefty as he continues to struggle. Trevor Cahill worked out of a jam in the eighth but served up a two-run wind-aided homer to Andrew McCutchen in the ninth. Cahill had trouble throwing strikes (two runs, two hits, two walks, no strikeouts) and forced Maddon to get Hector Rondon up in the ninth. Cahill picked up the 27th out when Starling Marte lined out to Dexter Fowler.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 26-8 on the season.
Jake Arrieta faces lefty Jeff Locke on Saturday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) in game two of three with the Pirates.