The Pittsburgh Pirates saw their two game winning streak snapped on Monday night at Wrigley Field
On Monday night the Pittsburgh Pirates started a three-game series t Wrigley field against the Chicago Cubs with a 6-1 loss. With the loss, the Pirates are now 2-2 on their current six-game road trip and 63-69 overall on the season. With the loss, the Pirates are now .500 this season (5-5) against the first place Cubs.
Monday night’s game was one the Pittsburgh Pirates were in the thick of until the bottom of the 7th inning. In this inning, atrocious defense would sink the Pirate cause turning a game that was close into an easy victory for the Cubs.
The Cubs started the scoring on Monday night in the bottom of the 2nd inning.
Anthony Rizzo doubled to start the inning and then scored on a ground ball single by Ian Happ to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. However, Trevor Williams then got Alex Avila to hit into a double play to help clean the mess up.
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The score would remain 1-0 until the bottom of the 5th inning when Trevor Williams ran into some bad luck. He allowed an infield hit to pitcher Mike Montgomery to start the inning. Then with one out, Tommy LaStella snuck a ground ball through the right side of the infield for a base hit.
Kris Bryant then drew a walk to load the bases. However, two of the four balls in Bryant’s at bat should have been called strikes and Bryant should have struck out looking. Anthony Rizzo then drove a ball to deep center field that Andrew McCutchen made a great leaping catch on to hold Rizzo to a sacrifice fly that made the score 2-0 Cubs.
Partially due to the pitcher’s spot leading off the top of the 6th inning, Trevor Williams pitched just 5 innings on Monday night. He allowed the 2 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts in those 5 innings of work. There were a few times things could have gotten away from Williams, but he did a great job of not allowing that to happen.
Steven Brault entered the game after Williams and proceeded to pitch a scoreless 6th inning. The bottom of the 7th inning would not go as well for Brault. Although, it would not be his fault.
To start the inning, Jon Jay reached on a fielding error by second baseman Sean Rodriguez. Then with two outs Ian Happ was intentionally walked to load the bases for the left-handed hitting Alex Avila. This is where things would go catastrophically wrong.
Avila hit a ground ball to second base that Rodriguez threw past first baseman Josh Bell. This allowed Jay and Bryant to score. Then, catcher Chris Stewart picked up the ball and attempted to throw out Avila at second base. Stewart’s throw, however, would sail into center field allowing Happ to score. When it was all said and done, the Cubs led 5-0 after 7 innings of play.
In his 2 innings of work, Brault allowed just a trio of singles and an intentional walk. He also struck out a pair of Chicago hitters. However, three abysmal defensive plays led to him allowing 3 uneared runs in the bottom of the 7th inning.
In the top of the 8th inning the Pirates finally broke through against Mike Montgomery. Jordy Mercer led off the inning with his third hit of the night – a solo home run. Mercer’s 12th home run of the season cut the Chicago lead to 5-1 and ended Montgomery’s night.
In 7+ innings pitched on Monday night the only run Mike Montgomery allowed was the solo home run by Mercer. He allowed 5 singles, he did not walk a batter, and he struck out 4. This was the first time since June of 2015 that Montgomery went at least 7 innings in a start.
In the bottom of the 8th inning Angel Sanchez entered the game for the Pirates. This was just the second Major League appearance of Sanchez’s career. Sanchez recorded his first career strikeout in the inning. However, he also allowed a run on a RBI double by Albert Almora to make the score 6-1 Cubs.
Wade Davis pitched the top of the 9th inning for the Cubs. Davis would retire the Pirates in order to finish off a 6-1 Chicago victory.
The second game of this three game series is scheduled for 8:05 on Tuesday night. Chad Kuhl will start for the Pirates while the Cubs hand the ball to arguably the most hated man, not named Bob Nutting, among Pirate fans – Jake Arrieta.