The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up their 95th win of the season with a 4-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano delivered a four hit gem to lead the Pirates to their eighth straight win.
Both, Liriano and Cubs starting Pitcher Jason Hammel, would keep the game scoreless through three innings. The wind would prove to be a big factor once again. In the top of the fourth, Andrew McCutchen drove a ball to center field that may have been a home run but was held in by the win. McCutchen ended up with a ground rule double into the ivy. McCutchen would end up stranded at second.
In the bottom of the fourth, Kris Bryant would lead off with a double then move to third on an Anthony Rizzo ground out. Starlin Castro then flew out to shallow right field and Bryant wouldn’t test Travis Snider. Snider’s throw to the plate was offline and he could have scored easily much to the dismay of the Wrigley Field crowd. Jorge Soler would strike out to end the inning and strand Bryant.
Francisco Cervelli lead off the top of the fifth with a single. Pedro Alvarez followed with a single. Jordy Mercer came to the plate and sent the second pitch of his at bat into the left field bleachers for a three run homer to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead. The Pirates bats weren’t done yet, Francisco Liriano and Starling Marte both singled with no outs. This chased Jason Hammel. Hammel’s final numbers are four innings, three runs on seven hits and two strikeouts. Justin Grimm would take over on the mound for the Cubs. After striking out Snider, Grimm issued a walk to McCutchen to load the bases. The Cubs would bring in their third pitcher of the inning, Trevor Cahill. Cahill would get Aramis Ramirez to fly out to right field. Neil Walker would strike out swinging to end the inning.
In the top of the eighth, Francisco Cervelli singled with one out. Sean Rodriguez came to the plate. Cervelli advanced to second on a passed ball. Rodriguez then hit a double to score Cervelli. Jordy Mercer would hit a ground ball to Rizzo at first, Rodriguez was running on the pitch and tried to score but was thrown out at the plate.
Liriano would start the bottom of the eighth by walking Addison Russell. He would then strike out the next two batters before walking Kris Bryant. Pirates Skipper Clint Hurdle would lift Liriano in favor of Antonio Bastardo. Bastardo would get Rizzo to fly out to end the inning. Then, Joakim Soria pitched the ninth to close out the win.
What Stood Out
Jordy Mercer homered for the first time since June 3rd in San Francisco. He also homered on June 2nd against the Giants. Mercer’s three RBIs are the most in a game for him this season.
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Francisco Liriano threw an absolute gem. He allowed just four hits, three walks and nine strike outs in seven and and two thirds innings. Liriano now has 200 strikeouts for the season.
Francisco Liriano and Francisco Cervelli each had two hits in the game.
The Wind! Another windy day in Chicago kept several balls in the park once again
Despite the the loss, the Cubs celebrated clinching a spot in the 2015 Postseason.
Let me set the scene for you…Final game of the Pittsburgh Pirates/Chicago Cubs regular season series. ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at 8 PM. Wrigley Field. A.J. Burnett vs Jake Arrieta. Do I need to tell you anymore than that? No, not really. However, I will give you just a few quick facts. The Pirates send Batman, not Bartman like some may suggest, to the mound for his 25th start. Burnett faced these Cubbies on September 16th and had a no decision while going 5.1 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits and struck out seven. AJ is 1-0 with two no decisions against the Cubs this season. The Cubs send Jake Arrieta to the mound. Arrieta has won nine of his last ten decisions with the one no decision being his last outing against the Pirates. Let’s see what the Pirates bats do against the potential Wild Card Game starter. Of course, The Pirates and Cardinals are still fighting for the National League Central Division title.