Pittsburgh Pirates Have Four-Game Win Streak Snapped by Cubs
The Pittsburgh Pirates had their four-game winning streak ended at the hands of the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night
On Wednesday night at PNC Park the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs played the third game of their four game series. Entering the game the Pirates had won four games in a row. However, this winning streak is now a thing of the past.
The Cubs defeated the Pirates on Wednesday night. This comes after the Pirates won the first two games of this series. With the loss, the Pirates are now 67-73 overall on the season and 9-9 against the Cubs.
With Gerrit Cole starting for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night and Jose Quintana for the Chicago Cubs a pitcher’s duel went down at PNC Park. This made for yet another close, hard fought, and an all-around entertaining game between the Pirates and Cubs on Wednesday night.
The Chicago Cubs would threaten early on against Gerrit Cole. With one out in the top of the 1st inning Tommy La Stella and Kris Bryant drew back-to-back walks. However, both La Stella and Bryant should have struck out swinging but home plate umpire Paul Nauert apparently forgot what a strike zone looks like.
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With two runners on base, one out, and Anthony Rizzo at the plate the Cubs seemed primed to take an early lead. Gerrit Cole, however, had other thoughts. Cole was able to get Rizzo to hit into an inning ending 1-6-3 double play to clean things up. After this, Cole would dominate.
Much like Gerrit Cole, Jose Quintana was also excellent on Wednesday night. Sean Rodriguez recorded the first Pirate hit of the night with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. The Pirates would not threaten to score until the bottom of the 4th inning.
With one out in the inning David Freese and Jose Osuna hit back-to-back singles. After Rodriguez struck out, Jordy Mercer lined a ball toward left field that appeared was going to be at least a RBI single. However, Cubs’ third base man Kris Bryant made a great leaping play on the ball to rob Mercer.
In the top of the 6th inning the Pirates would threaten once again.
Andrew McCutchen and David Freese collected back-to-back singles to start the inning off of Jose Quintana. However, Jose Osuna then hit into one of the weirdest double plays you will ever see. He hit sharp ground ball to shortstop Javier Baez who threw out McCutchen at third base, Kris Bryant then threw to second base man Tommy La Stella to retire Freese, and Osuna beat out the back end to prevent a 6-5-4-3 triple play. Sean Rodriguez then grounded out to end the inning.
This brought Quintana’s night to an end. In 6 scoreless innings pitched he allowed six hits, he walked a batter, and he struck out six. Due to some long at bats in the bottom of the 6th inning the Pirates were able to elevate his pitch count and chase him from the game.
After retiring 15 consecutive batters, Gerrit Cole issued a one-out walk to Ian Happ in the top of the 7th inning. Cole then got Alex Avila to ground out and Jason Heyward to fly out to end the inning.
With two outs in the top of the 8th inning Cole allowed a broken bat single to Jon Jay. This was just the second hit Cole had allowed to go along with an infield single from Javier Baez. He then got Tommy La Stella to fly out to end the inning.
Wednesday night was one of the best starts of the season from Gerrit Cole. He held the Cubs scoreless over 8 innings, with the only two hits he allowed being an infield single and a broken bat flare to left field. He walked four, two of which were due to a miserable missed called from home plate umpire Paul Nauert, and he struck out eight.
In the top of the 9th inning Clint Hurdle summoned Daniel Hudson to face the heart of the Cubs’ order. With one out in the inning Hudson walked Anthony Rizzo, despite two of the four balls being strikes, and Rizzo was replaced with pinch-runner Leonys Martin.
Martin then stole second base. This steal was aided by a horrible throw from Chris Stewart. Then with two outs, Hudson allowed a triple to Alex Avila that scored Martin to make the score 1-0 Cubs.
Wade Davis then took over for the Cubs in the bottom of the 9th. With one out, Josh Bell pinch-hit for Jose Osuna. Wade was able to get Bell to pop out. Then, John Jaso pinch-hit for Sean Rodriguez and struck out to end the game.
Next: An Emerging Relief Prospect
Wednesday night’s game was a pitcher’s duel throughout the night. In the end, however, the Pirates bullpen was less effective than the Cub bullpen. This led to a Chicago victory on Wednesday night.
The fourth and final game of this series is scheduled for 7:05 on Thursday night at PNC Park. Jameson Taillon will start for the Pirates, while the Cubs will hand the ball to Jon Lester.