Sep 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates secondbaseman Josh Harrison (5) leaps over Chicago Cubs right fielder Kris Bryant (17) after forcing Bryant out at second base during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Lester gave up one run and pitched a complete game in the Chicago Cubs’ 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. The Pirates scattered five hits against Lester but ultimately were not able to get the offense going against the lefty. The Pirates now hold a four game lead over the Cubs in the race for home field advantage in the NL Wild Card game.
Like in the first game, the Cubs put the first run on the board when Austin Jackson doubled and scored on Anthony Rizzo‘s single. They added a second run in the fifth inning with a Dexter Fowler double that brought in David Ross. The Pirates put together a decent opportunity to score some runs in the seventh but only walked away with one run that inning.
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After Aramis Ramirez and Francisco Cervelli reached with consecutive singles, Michael Morse grounded into a double play that resulted in one run crossing the plate. Sean Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and moved to second after Lester tossed a wild pitch during Jung Ho Kang’s pinch hit at-bat. Kang ended the inning with a strikeout, leaving the runner in scoring position.
Happ was removed from the game in the sixth inning, giving up just the two runs and keeping his team very much in the game. Arquimedes Caminero worked the rest of the inning and two more, adding four more strikeouts to his season total. He was followed by a scoreless inning of work by Antonio Bastardo. Unfortunately Lester was too much for the Pittsburgh hitters and he continued to pitch well into the later innings of the game, ending it with a strikeout of Francisco Cervelli.
What Stood Out
Even though the offense was stifled by a very impressive outing from Lester, J.A. Happ’s start should not be overlooked even though he was hit with the loss. Happ was lifted after five and two thirds innings of work but did strike out eight Chicago hitters in the process. While this does not register as a by the book definition of a quality start, Happ continues to show that he is a good option to be handed the ball every fifth day.
The four game series will continue on Wednesday at 7:00pm. A.J. Burnett will go up against Jake Arrieta, who is putting together a career year. Arrieta will bring an ERA of 1.99 into the game as he goes for his 20th victory of the season. Burnett went five innings in his last start, his first since coming back from injury. He will look to pitch deeper into the game as the Pirates and Cubs continue this very important series.