Pittsburgh Pirates Rally To Take Series At Wrigley Field

Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates secured their first road series victory of the season on Saturday

Saturday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking to secure their first road series victory of the season. Early on things looked very bleak. However, the Bucs rallied to get the job done.

With the win, the Pirates are now 5-6 overall on the season. While bad defense is quickly becoming a trend for the Pirates, as poor defense by Adam Frazier and Josh Harrison nearly cost the Pirates the game on Saturday afternoon, the Bucs overcame this to earn an 8-7 victory. Also, Frazier and Harrison helped make up for their defensive blunders with their offensive performances.

Saturday’s win was a great one for the Pirates. They overcame a 4-0 1st inning deficit on the road against the best team in baseball. Furthermore, with the victory, the Bucs are now 2-0 against the Cubs this season with both wins coming at Wrigley Field. This comes one year after the Bucs went 4-15 against the Cubs, which included being just 1-8 at Wrigley Field.

Tyler Glasnow made his second start of the season for the Pirates. And while he still had some struggles, he pitched much better than he did in his first outing. Glasnow would have a very rough first inning, which was not completely his doing, but he would bounce back well from that first inning.

Kyle Schwarber had a weakly hit double, that barely stayed fair, down the left field line to lead off the bottom of the 1st inning. This was nothing short of bad luck for Tyler Glasnow. What came next, however, was not bad luck.

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Glasnow threw a 2-0 fastball to Kris Bryant that Bryant crushed for his first home run of the season. This gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

After this, Glasnow struck out Anthony Rizzo and got Ben Zobrist to hit a routine ground ball to shortstop. Unfortunately, Adam Frazier could not field Zobrist’s ground ball allowing him to reach on an error. An Addison Russell triple and Jason Heyward single through a drawn-in infield later it was 4-0 Cubs.

The Pirates would get on the board in the top of the 2nd inning. This was due to a solo home run by Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli has already doubled his home run total from last year.

Tyler Glasnow would then bounce back with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 2nd inning. This helped the Pirates cut the Cubs’ lead to 4-2 when Adam Frazier hit a two-out triple in the top of the 3rd inning, which was followed by a Starling Marte RBI single.

The Cubs would score two more runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Once again, the Pirates’ poor defense played a role in this. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Addison Russell hit what should have been a run-scoring single.

With runners on the corners and nobody out, Addison Russell hit what should have been a run-scoring single. Josh Harrison, who started in left field on Saturday, grossly misplayed the ball and turned it into a two-run double. This made it 6-2 Cubs and made it 3 runs that the Cubs had scored due to poor Pirate defense.

Tyler Glasnow recorded his second 1-2-3 inning of the day in the bottom of the 4th inning. He would come out to start the bottom of the 5th, which was a move that I was not a fan of. However, it would work out for the Pirates.

Apr 15, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow delivers against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow delivers against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

To start the inning Glasnow hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch and then issued his first walk of the day with Ben Zobrist being the recipient. After getting Addison Russell to pop out to center field and getting Jason Heyward to ground out, Glasnow walked Willson Contreras to load the bases with two outs. Glasnow then got Jake Arrieta to fly out to right field to end the inning.

In 5 innings pitched on Saturday Tyler Glasnow allowed 6 runs, only 3 of which were earned, on 6 hits, 2 walks, and a career high 7 strikeouts.

All in all Saturday’s start was an encouraging one for Tyler Glasnow. While he threw some mistake pitches, he was much better than he was against the Reds on Monday. Glasnow also pitched much better than his final stat line. Honestly, Glasnow pitched pretty well and he did an excellent job of hitting the glove which is something he often times struggles with.

Had the Pirates played better defense, at least 3 of the runs he allowed would not have scored. It also would have helped keep his pitch count down and allowed him to pitch deeper into the game. Tyler Glasnow also showed a lot of confidence in his changeup on Saturday afternoon, and it was an excellent pitch. Saturday’s start was definitely a step in the right direction for Glasnow.

The Pittsburgh Pirates would start their rally in the top of the 6th inning. Starling Marte led off the inning with his second home run of the season to cut Chicago’s lead to 6-3. After getting Andrew McCutchen to ground out and David Freese to fly out, Jake Arrieta was lifted for Brian Duensing.

In 5 2/3 innings pitched, Arrieta allowed 3 runs on 5 hits, 2 home runs allowed, a walk, and 5 strikeouts.

Trevor Williams took over for the Pirates in the bottom of the 6th inning. Williams would allow a leadoff single to Javier Baez, but then retired the next three batters which included a pair of strikeouts.

In the top of the 7th inning, the Pirates would take their first lead of the game. With one out, Josh Harrison would hit his first home run of the season to cut the Cub lead to 6-4. Alen Hanson would follow with a single and then get a huge steal of second base with two outs. His steal would prove to be vital as Adam Frazier would deliver a two-out RBI single to make it 6-5.

The Cubs would then lift Duensing for Pedro Strop. Strop would walk Starling Marte to bring Andrew McCutchen to the plate with two on and two outs. The baddest dude in the league would proceed to crush a 2-2 slider to left field for his second home run of the season to make it 8-6 Pirates.

Juan Nicasio pitched the 7th inning for the Pirates. Despite allowing a leadoff single to Anthony Rizzo, he would post a zero for the Bucs. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Daniel Hudson would retire the Cubs in order.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, Pirate manager Clint Hurdle turned to closer Tony Watson. Watson got Kyle Schwarber to ground out to second base to lead off the inning and then Kris Bryant hit a solo home run, his second of the day, to cut the Pirate lead to 8-7.

Anthony Rizzo then hit a ground ball that clanked off Watson’s glove to second baseman Adam Frazier. Frazier would make the throw to first, where John Jaso made an excellent play to stretch for the ball and keep his foot on the bag, for the second out of the inning.

Watson then issued a four-pitch walk to Ben Zobrist. This brought the winning run to the plate in the form of Addison Russell. Watson would then strikeout Russell on just three pitches to cap off the 8-7 Pirate victory.

Next: Minor League Roundup: April 14

While the season is still young, this was, by far, the best win of the season thus far for the Pirates. This game appeared to be over in the 1st inning, however, the Battling Bucs never gave up and fought back to win the game. The fact it was against the Cubs AND at Wrigley Field just makes it that much better.

Saturday afternoon’s victory was the kind of victory that can vault a team onto bigger and better things. The Pirates needed a big bounce back series at Wrigley Field this weekend after losing four straight games. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, the Bucs have already done just that.

The Pirates will go for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow’s game features what should be a fantastic pitching matchup of Jameson Taillon v. Jon Lester. First pitch from Wrigley Field is, once again, scheduled for 2:20 PM.