The Pittsburgh Pirates went to the Windy City and took game one by a score of 3-2 from the Chicago Cubs. With Gerrit Cole facing Jon Lester, a low scoring pitchers duel was what everyone expected and these two would not disappoint. In the top of the third inning, Jordy Mercer would double with one out. Cole would come to the plate and help his own cause with an RBI single to center field.
In the bottom of the fourth, Kris Bryant would lead off the inning with a single. Anthony Rizzo then singled moving Bryant to third. Addison Russell then hit a ground ball to Jordy Mercer who threw to second to get Rizzo while Bryant scored to tie the game at one.
In the top of the seventh, Aramis Ramirez led off with a double and was replaced with pinch runner Keon Broxton. Francisco Cervelli would bunt Broxton over to third. Then Michael Morse would single to score Broxton giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Jon Lester would be lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning. Lester went seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits and struck out six.
In the top of the eighth, Pedro Strop took the mound for the Cubs. Jordy Mercer would strike out but reach first on the wild pitch by Strop. Gerrit Cole would be lifted for a pinch hitter, Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez would single and move Mercer to third. After a Gregory Polanco strike out, Starling Marte would ground out and score Mercer from third to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Tony Watson would make a superb play on a bunt by Javier Baez that would be called safe on the field but ruled an out after a review. Dexter Fowler would ground out to Sean Rodriguez who threw to Watson for the out. After walking Austin Jackson and a Kris Bryant single, Watson struck out Anthony Rizzo to end the threat.
Mark Melancon came on in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a lead off double to Chris Denorfia. Melancon would then get Miguel Montero to strike out. Starlin Castro would come to the plate and triple down the right field line to score Denorfia with just one out. Melancon would then get Jorge Soler to strike out for the second out. Melancon then struck out Javier Baez to end the game and give the Pirates their 94th win.
What Stood Out
Gerrit Cole picked up his second straight win. Cole went seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits, walked two and struck out eight. Cole is now averaging eight strike outs per game over his last four starts.
More from Pirates News
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Leadoff Hitters in 2023
- Pittsburgh Pirates: The Rotation is not being Improved
- Pittsburgh Pirates Make Vince Velasquez Signing Official
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Bob Nutting, Please Sell the Team
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Free Agent Starting Pitchers Still Available
Mark Melancon picked up his fifty-first save of the season. He allowed a double and a triple but had three strikeouts and the Cubs stranded the tying run on third. Melancon has now earned a save in his last five appearances. Also, Melancon showed some real emotion on the final strike out, something we may see more of down the stretch. Mark also provided the quote of the day during his interview on Root Sports following the game “Our Fans are Better! That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Finally, the Windy City lived up to its name. The wind kept several would-be home runs in the park.
The National League Central & NL Wild Card showdown in Chicago continues Saturday at 1 PM as Francisco Liriano takes on Jason Hammel. Liriano and Hammel have both won two out of their last three starts. This will be Liriano’s first start against the Cubs since picking up a no decision against them back on April 21st. Franky went five innings and gave up three runs on three hits and struck out nine during that outing. Hammel just faced the Pirates on September 15th and gave up four runs on five hits and struck out five.