Led by Home Runs and Trevor Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates Win Series in Chicago
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates remain undefeated in series played this season
On Thursday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs did battle in the rubber match of their three-game series at Wrigley Field. Led by home runs and a strong performanceÂ from starting pitcher Trevor Williams, the Pirates won the game 6-1 to improve to 9-3 on the season.
After winning the series against the Cubs, The Pittsburgh Pirates are now 3-0-1 in series this season.
It did not take the Pirates long to take a lead on ThursdayÂ afternoon. With 1-out in the top of the 1st inning, Gregory Polanco smashed his 4th home run of the season to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Trevor Williams had some control issues on Thursday, but these issues were in part due to a bad strike zone from home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus. Despite these issues, Williams battled through and pitch a strong game on Thursday.
Outside of a solo home run by Kyle Schwarber in the bottom of the 4th inning, Williams kept the Cubs off the board. He held the Cubs to just 4 hits, a walk, and 5 strikeouts in 6 innings pitched. If not for De Jesus’ strike zone spiking his pitch count, Williams could have easily gone 7 innings on Thursday.
In the top of the 5th inning, the game was tied at 4. Adam Frazier then broke the tie with his 1st home run of the season, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
The Pirate power surge would continue in the top of the 7th inning when Gregory Polanco hit another solo home run, and Francisco Cervelli launched his second 3-run home run of the series. This gave the Pirates breathing room at 6-1.
After Williams exited the game, the Pirate bullpen would slam the door on the Cubs. Michael Feliz, George Kontos, and Felipe Vazquez each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. They combined to allow a trio of singles, one of which was eliminated on a double play.
Thursday’s victory was a sign of the back end of the Pirate bullpen being strong. Despite one bad outing from each, Feliz, Kontos, and Vazquez have all pitched effectively this season. If that continues, and there is no reason to believe it won’t, the Pirates will continue to win plenty of baseball games.
This series was also a big statement series for the Pirates. The team is now 9-3 overall on the season, including 3-2 against playoff teams from 2017. While the season is still very young, it is always impressive to win a series at Wrigley Field. This series was a big step toward the Pirates proving they are truly contenders in the National League.
Next: The Pirate Bullpen Misses A.J. Schugel
Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates is a trip to Marlins Park in Miami for a three-game series against the lowly Miami Marlins. The first game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. on Friday night and will feature a pitching matchup of Chad Kuhl and Dillon Peters.