Game One Hundred Thirty-Two – Cubs 6, Pirates 5
WP – Jason Hammel (14-7) LP – Ryan Vogelsong (3-4) Save – Aroldis Chapman (32)
Kris Bryant homered. Addison Russell, Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras drove in runs. Jason Hammel surrendered one run in six solid innings. The Cubs led 5-1 after six and took a 6-2 lead into the eighth.
The Pirates would not quit and scored four runs in their final three at-bats. With the tying and go ahead runs on base in the top of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman struck out Jordy Mercer swinging on the 12th pitch of the at bat to end the game. And the Cubs completed the sweep of the Pirates on Wednesday night at the old ballyard.
The Cubs built a four-run lead in six innings behind a longball from Kris Bryant, clutch hitting from Addison Russell, Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras and gifts from the Pirates. The difference in the game ended up being the Cubs defense. While the Cubs were charged with two errors, outstanding plays by Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant kept the Pirates from putting together big innings.
Jason Hammel put together a solid start Wednesday. Hammel was really sharp in five of his six innings. Hammel lost his command during a 33-pitch fifth inning. Hammel walked three in the fifth but gave up only one run. Hammel struck out Andrew McCutchen swinging to end the fifth. Outside of the fifth, Hammel appeared to be on the same page with Willson Contreras, kept the ball down and threw strikes.
The Cubs defense made several excellent plays behind Hammel that prevented the Pirates from doing any damage for the first four innings of the game. The long fifth inning kept Hammel from pitching any deeper in the game than the sixth.
Jason Hammel allowed one run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Hammel made 104 pitches, 64 for strikes, in six innings.
Even with a sizeable lead, 5-1 going into the seventh inning, the Cubs pen struggled with throwing strikes and allowed the Pirates to get back into the game. Trevor Cahill, Justin Grimm, Travis Wood, Felix Pena and Aroldis Chapman had command issues. Each reliever walked at least one batter. But with their backs against the wall, Pena and Chapman found the strike zone long enough to get out of trouble.
Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two run scored) gave the Cubs the early lead with a solo home run off Ryan Vogelsong in the first inning. Bryant went yard for the 36th time on the season and for a short time Wednesday night led the NL in home runs again.
The Cubs added on in the fourth on a two-out single from Addison Russell (1-for-2 with a walk, a sac fly, two runs scored and two RBI). Bryant led off the fourth with a single to left center. A wild pitch with Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) at the plate allowed Bryant to move up 90 feet. Rizzo grounded out to first, Bryant went to third and held when Jorge Soler grounded out to third base. Jason Heyward (2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI) walked. Russell pulled a 0-1 pitch into left. Bryant scored and the Cubs went up 2-0. Tommy La Stella (0-for-2) grounded out to second base to end the inning.
The Pirates cut the Cubs lead in half in a very long fifth inning. Hammel retired Cervelli on a flyout to left for the first out. Hammel walked Sean Rodriguez. After retiring Mercer on a flyout to right, Hammel missed with a 3-2 pitch and walked Ryan Vogelsong. Josh Harrison ripped a single to left off Kris Bryant’s glove. Rodriguez scored, 2-1 Cubs. Hammel walked Josh Bell to load the bases. Hammel struck out Andrew McCutchen swinging on the 33rd pitch of the inning for the third out.
The Cubs could not cash in a two-out triple by Dexter Fowler and a walk from Kris Bryant in the fifth. The game went to the sixth with the Cubs clinging to a 2-1 lead.
Jason Hammel pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning. And the Cubs tacked on in the home half with a little help from Antonio Bastardo.
Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a double and a run scored) led off with a double over McCutchen’s head in center. Jason Heyward ripped Vogelsong’s first pitch into center. Soler scored, 3-1 Cubs. Russell walked and chased Vogelsong from the game. Clint Hurdle called on lefty Antonio Bastardo and Maddon went to his bench. Javier Baez hit for La Stella and popped out to short.
With Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) at the plate, Bastardo uncorked a wild pitch. Heyward and Russell moved up to second and third. Bastardo was then called for a balk. Heyward scored, 4-1 Cubs. Contreras pulled the first pitch from Bastardo after the balk to left. Russell scored and Contreras ended up at second with a double. Matt Szczur hit for Hammel and walked. Bastardo retired Fowler (pop out to second base) and Bryant (swinging strikeout) to end the inning.
After six complete, the Cubs led 5-1.
The Pirates starting chipping into the Cubs lead in the seventh. A one-out infield single by Jordy Mercer and a walk to pinch-hitter Matt Joyce put two on with one out and all of the sudden Trevor Cahill was in a jam. Josh Harrison ripped a single to left. The Pirates loaded the bases with one out and Maddon went to his pen for Justin Grimm.
Grimm caught Josh Bell looking at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Grimm could not get McCutchen to chase. McCutchen walked and forced in Mercer, 5-2 Cubs. With the bases loaded, Gregory Polanco blooped Grimm’s first pitch down the left field line. The ball was in no-man’s land and it appeared the game would be at least tied at five. Russell came out of nowhere and made what turned out to be a game saving catch to end the inning.
The Cubs added a much-needed insurance run off Juan Nicasio in the seventh. Rizzo walked to start the inning. Miguel Montero hit for Grimm and struck out swinging. Heyward singled to left center. Rizzo stopped at third with one out.
Addison Russell hit a fly to center. Rizzo tagged and scored, 6-2 Cubs. Baez grounded out to short to end the inning. And the game went to the eighth with the Cubs leading by four runs.
Travis Wood started the eighth and had nothing. Marte struck out swinging for the first out. Francisco Cervelli doubled to left, Rodriguez walked and put two on with one down. Jordy Mercer doubled to left. Cervelli and Rodriguez scored and the Cubs lead was down to two runs at 6-4. Maddon went to his pen and brought in Felix Pena to face David Freese. Pena walked Freese and put two on with one out. Alen Hanson ran for Freese at first base representing the tying run. Pena struck out Harrison for the second out. Contreras tried to throw behind Hanson. Contreras threw the ball into right field and the Pirates put runners on second and third with two outs for Josh Bell. Pena induced a grounder to second on a 2-2 pitch. Baez fielded the ball cleanly and threw to Rizzo to end the inning.
The Cubs were unable to add on against Jared Hughes in the eighth. And the game went to the ninth with the Cubs leading 6-4.
Aroldis Chapman appeared for the third straight game. Chapman retired McCutchen (grounder to short) and Polanco (swinging strikeout) before he lost his command. Chapman gave up a single to Marte. With Cervelli at the plate, Chapman uncorked two wild pitches that allowed Marte to advance all the way to third. Cervelli blooped a single to right, Marte scored, 6-5 Cubs. Another wild pitch allowed Cervelli to take second. Chapman walked Sean Rodriguez and the Pirates had the tying and go ahead runs on base.
Jordy Mercer put together a 12-pitch at bat that ended with a swinging strikeout. Game over … Cubs sweep.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to a season-high 38 games over .500 with a 85-47 record on the season.
The Cubs begin a four-game series with the Giants on Thursday night (7:05pm CDT). Mike Montgomery is scheduled to face Jeff Samardzija in the opener at Wrigley.