Pittsburgh Pirates Start Series At Wrigley Field By Snapping Five Game Skid


The Pittsburgh Pirates now have a road victory in 2017

Friday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates started a three-game weekend series at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates entered the series looking to snap a four-game losing streak, as well as searching for their first road victory of the season.

In Friday’s game, the Pirates were able to accomplish exactly what they set out to do. While it was not pretty or easy, the Pirates defeated the Cubs by a score of 4-2. With the win, the team improved to 4-6 overall on the year and are now 1-3 on the road.

The Pirates got a strong start from Gerrit Cole on Friday, to go along with just enough offense. While the bullpen made things shaky in the 8th and 9th innings, they were able to slam the door on the Cubs to earn the victory.

Just as they did in yesterday’s loss to the Red Sox, the Pirates scored first on Friday.

More from Rum Bunter

Gregory Polanco singled to lead off the top of the 2nd inning and he then stole second base. This gives him four stolen bases this season already. David Freese would then put together an excellent 12 pitch at-bat that ended with a RBI double to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.

John Jaso would then ground out to second base to move Freese to third base with just one out. Unfortunately, the Pirates failed to get Freese home from third base as their woes with runners in scoring position continued.

In the top of the 3rd inning, the Pirates had a chance to add to their lead. Josh Harrison singled to lead off the inning and this was followed by a Starling Marte double. The problem was that Harrison got picked off at first base prior to Marte’s double.

The Pirates would then strand Marte.

Chicago would tie the game in the bottom of the 4th inning. Kris Bryant doubled to lead off the inning and he would then score on a one-out base hit by Ben Zobrist. Despite also issuing a walk to Jason Heyward, Gerrit Cole was able to hold the Cubs to just one run in the 4th inning.

In the next half inning the Pirates, once again, got a runner in scoring position. Josh Harrison singled with two outs and then stole second base. However, Starling Marte would strikeout to strand Harrison.

With one out in the bottom of the 5th inning, Javier Baez doubled down the left field line off of the glove of David Freese. Kyle Schwarber would then follow with a RBI single to give the Cubs the lead for the first time.

The top of the 6th inning would prove to spell the end for Cubs’ starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks. He was lifted after allowing back-to-back singles to Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco to start the inning. Hendricks exited with a 2-1 lead, but with the Pirates having runners on the corners with no one out.

Apr 14, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) hits a two RBI double during the sixth inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) hits a two RBI double during the sixth inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

Justin Grimm took over for the Cubs and immediately allowed a game-tying single to David Freese. On the Freese single, Gregory Polanco was able to motor all the way to third base. After a John Jaso pop out, Francisco Cervelli would give the Pirates the lead back.

Cervelli lined a double into the right-center field gap. This allowed both Polanco and Freese to score to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead. Cervelli would be thrown out trying to go to third base on the play.

Cervelli’s double also closed the book on Kyle Hendricks. In 5+ innings pitched, Hendricks allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, 2 walks, and he struck out 3 batters.

Gerrit Cole started for the Pirates and turned in his best start of the season. In 6 innings of work, he allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, 1 walk, and he struck out 5 batters. Cole’s 5 strikeouts are a new season high, this was also the first start of the season in which he did not allow a home run. Gerrit threw 114 pitches, 72 for strikes.

In a perplexing move, Clint Hurdle went to long man Wade LeBlanc in the bottom of the 7th inning. However, it was one that worked out as LeBlanc would retire the Cubs in order.

Felipe Rivero took the mount in the bottom of the 8th inning for the Pirates. The usually dominant Rivero would end up having a shaky outing, but he would get out of it.

He walked Kris Bryant to start the inning and then hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. Rivero would then retire the next two batters before Jason Heyward would reach on an infield hit to load the bases. This was a hit that should not have happened, though.

Heyward hit a routine ground ball to the right side of the infield that was fielded by first baseman John Jaso. Jaso, however, should have covered the bag allowing Josh Harrison to field what would have been a routine ground ball out. It would prove to be a moot point, though, as Rivero would get pinch hitter Willson Contreras to ground out to end the inning.

Closer Tony Watson took the mound for the Pirates in the bottom of the 9th inning. He would retire the first two batters he faced. After this, things got shaky.

Watson issued a two-out walk to Kyle Schwarber, and then Kris Bryant reached on an error by David Freese. This brought the winning run to the plate in the form of Anthony Rizzo, who Watson hit with a pitch to load the bases.

Watson would bounce back and get Ben Zobrist to ground out to shortstop to end the game. This gave the Pirates their first road victory of the 2017 season.

Next: Glasnow Needs To Pitch With Some Burnett Attitude Tomorrow

With a win on Friday, the Pirates matched their win total at Wrigley Field from the 2016 season. The Bucs went 1-9 at Wrigley in 2016, they are already 1-0 at Wrigley Field in 2017. Hopefully, tis is a sign of things to come against the Cubs this season.

Game two of this three-game series is scheduled for 2:20 PM tomorrow afternoon. Tyler Glasnow will start for the Pirates and look to bounce back from his disastrous start against the Reds this past Monday. Meanwhile, the Cubs will give the ball to Pirate nemesis Jake Arrieta.