Pittsburgh Pirates Drub Chicago Cubs To Start Vital 4 Game Series
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off their most important series of the season to date with a big blow out victory on Monday night
On Monday night the Pittsburgh Pirates welcomed the Chicago Cubs to PNC Park for the start of a vital four-game series. The Pirates entered this series trailing both the Cubs, who are tied for first with the Milwaukee Brewers, in the National League Central division. So, it goes without saying that this series offers a great opportunity for the Pirates.
One game into the series, the Pirates have taken advantage of the series. Following an 18-5 drubbing of the Cubs on Monday night, the Pirates are now 40-43 this season. This includes being 2-2 against the Cubs.
It did not take long for the Pirate offense to get going.
The struggling Adam Frazier led the game off with the first of his five hits. Bryan Reynolds walked, Starling Marte singled, Josh Bell hit a home run, and the Pirates quickly led 4-0.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, the Pirate offense kept chugging along. Frazier hit one of his three doubles to start the inning, and then with two outs Bell hit his second home run of the game. The 2-run blast made it 6-1 Pirates. Colin Moran would then double in Corey Dickerson to make it 7-1.
Bell’s second home run gave him 24 on the season. This is the most by a National League switch hitter before the All-Star Break since Lance Berkman in 2011. It also gives him 56 extra base hits this season, which breaks Nate McLouth‘s franchise record for the most before the All-Star Break.
After not scoring in the 3rd inning, the Pirate offense posted another crooked number in the 4th inning. Base hits by Bell and Moran and an Elias Diaz walk loaded the bases with two outs for starting pitcher Trevor Williams. Williams singled to right field and it was followed by another Frazier double. This ran the score to 10-4 Bucs.
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With the score 13-5 Pirates, Moran doubled with two outs in the 7th. This gave him two doubles and a career high five hits. This was followed by a 111 MPH missile into the left field seats by Jung Ho Kang. Kang’s 7th home run of the season made it 15-5 Pirates.
Jose Osuna led off the 8th inning with a pinch hit home run. His 5th home runs of the season gave the Pirates a 16-5 lead. It was also his 4th pinch hit home run of the season, tying Matt Joyce for the MLB lead.
This was followed by Frazier’s 4th double of the game, which tied Paul Waner for the most doubles in a game in Pirate history. With two outs in the inning, Bell hit his 3rd home run of the night and 25th of the season.
This made Bell the first Pirate since Andrew McCutchen in 2017 to hit three home runs in a game. It also made him the first switch hitter in Pirate history to homer three times in one game. Yeah, he good.
It was not a good night for Cub pitchers. Starter Adbert Alzolay gave up 7 runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings of work. Brad Brach followed him and allowed 3 runs in 1 1/3 innings of work. Rowan Wick gave up 3 runs in his 2 innings of work. In the latest edition of positions players pitching, Daniel Descalso gave up 2 runs in his lone inning of work. Closer Craig Kimbrel then got tagged for 3 runs in his inning of work.
As fr Pirate pitching, Trevor Williams started and cruised through the first 3 innings. He ran into trouble in the 4th, but got Kris Bryant to pop out with the bases loaded to end the inning with the Pirates ahead 7-4.
Williams was lifted with two outs in the 6th inning for Michael Feliz. Feliz would do his job by getting retiring the lone batter he faced to end the 6th inning. In 5 2/3 innings of work Williams allowed 5 runs on nine hits, a home run, three walks, and four strikeouts.
Chris Stratton pitched the 7th and 8th inning for the Pirates. He pitched 2 scoreless innings of relief allowing a pair of singles and picking up a strikeout. Quietly, Stratton has been a strong addition to the Pirate bullpen. Dovydas Neverauskas then picked up a pair of strikeouts while pitching a scoreless 9th inning.
This home stand is a vital one for the Pirates. The team enters the home stand 5 games out of first place in the NL Central and 4 games out in the NL Wild Card. On the stand the Bucs will face the division leading Cubs and Brewers, giving them a great opportunity to make up ground entering the All-Star Break. After an 18-5 annihilation of the Cubs, this home stand could not be off to a better start for the Bucs.
The second game of the series is scheduled for 7:05 on Tuesday night. Joe Musgrove (4.27 ERA, 3.61 FIP) will make the start for the Pirates, while Kyle Hendricks (3.36 ERA, 3.50 FIP) returns from the injured list for the Cubs.