Game Eighty-Six – Cubs 4, Pirates 8
WP – Neftali Feliz (3-0) LP – Jake Arrieta (12-4) Save – Mark Melancon (27)
Anthony Rizzo broke a 3-3 tie with two outs in the seventh. Rizzo launched a solo home run and gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead. Jake Arrieta had settled down after a rough start and allowed the Cubs to tie and take the lead.
The wheels came off in the seventh inning. Jake Arrieta could not record an out before Joe Maddon had to go to the bullpen. And the defense could not make a play to help out the pitching staff. The Pirates scored the go ahead run on a throwing error by Anthony Rizzo. The Pirates went on to score four runs in the seventh and were given another run in the eighth as the Cubs lost the opener of the three game series at PNC on Friday night.
The Cubs continued to struggle in every aspect of the game Friday night at PNC Park. The offense wasted numerous scoring opportunities against Francisco Liriano, hit into three double plays and finished the game 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine men on base. Even with the offense sputtering, the Cubs took a 4-3 lead into the seventh inning.
Jake Arrieta was sharp in the first inning. Arrieta pitched a 1-2-3 first and retired the side on 13 pitches, nine for strikes. Arrieta had issues with his command in the second and served up a pair of home runs … a solo shot by David Freese and a two-run homer off the bat of Sean Rodriguez. Arrieta regrouped in the third inning. Arrieta gave up a lot of hard contact before he found a groove. Arrieta kept the Pirates off the scoreboard from the third through the sixth innings.
Javier Baez (0-for-2 with a walk, a HBP and a RBI) put the Cubs on the board in the fourth when he grounded out to second inning and plated Jason Heyward (2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored) from third base. Miguel Montero (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) hit a two-run homer off Juan Nicasio with two down in the sixth that tied the game at three. Arrieta retired the Pirates in order in the sixth.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a home run and two walks) stepped in with two down and no one on in the seventh. Rizzo worked a full count against Neftali Feliz before giving the Cubs a short-lived lead with a solo homer to right.
Jake Arrieta took the hill in the seventh with a 4-3 lead. Arrieta did not get the call on a 2-2 pitch to pinch-hitter Adam Frazier. Arrieta walked the rookie and the game quickly got away from the Cubs. Josh Bell batted for Feliz and smacked the first pitch he saw in the majors into right center. Frazier went to third with no outs. John Jaso singled to left (2-2 pitch), Frazier scored and tied the game at four.
Joe Maddon made the slow walk and went to the pen for Travis Wood with two on, no outs and the game tied at four. Gregory Polanco bounced a 2-0 pitch to the hole between first and second. Rizzo fielded the ball but his throw to Travis Wood was behind him as he raced to the bag. The ball went into foul ground, Josh Bell scored and the Pirates took a 5-4 lead. Maddon went back to the pen and brought in Carl Edwards Jr. to face Andrew McCutchen with runners on the corners and no outs.
Andrew McCutchen lashed a single center. Jaso scored, 6-4 Pirates, and closed the book on Arrieta.
Jake Arrieta was charged with six runs on nine hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Arrieta served up two home runs and made 88 pitches, 60 for strikes. As bad as it looks, Arrieta actually put together a better outing than he’s had in almost a month.
The Pirates scored for the fourth time in the seventh after the defense failed to turn a double play. Starling Marte rolled one to Zobrist that should have started a 4-6-3 double play. Zobrist’s throw to Russell was off the mark. Freese was forced but pinch runner Eric Fryer scored from third to make it 7-4 Pirates.
The Pirates added a run in the eighth against Trevor Cahill without a hit. Cahill walked three, hit a batter and a wild pitch with the bags loaded allowed Matt Joyce to scamper in.
The seventh and eighth innings were just about as ugly as it has been all season for the Cubs.
The only positive for the Cubs at the end of the game was Bryant and Rizzo worked walks and forced Clint Hurdle to use Mark Melancon to record the final out.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 52-34 on the season.
Jon Lester takes on rookie right-hander Chad Kuhl on Saturday night (6:15pm CDT) at PNC Park.