Pittsburgh Pirates Defeat Chicago Cubs 4-2
By Marty Leap
After snapping their nine game losing streak on Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time in almost two weeks
Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Pirates had the opportunity to be the ultimate spoiler. With a win, they would effectively end the Chicago Cubs’ season. This is due to the Cubs’ elimination number entering Wednesday being just one.
Prior to the end of Wednesday’s game the Cubs had already been eliminated from postseason contention due to the Milwaukee Brewers defeating the Cincinnati Reds. Even if the Brewers had not won, the Cubs season still would have ended on Wednesday night as the Pirates were victorious by a score of 4-2 to improve to 67-91 on the season. Suck it, Maddon!
With the Cubs leading 1-0 in the 4th inning Adam Frazier singled to start the inning and went to third base on a two out double by Erik Gonzalez. Making a rare start utility man Jake Elmore then lined a single into left field to score Jose Osuna, who replaced Frazier on a fielder’s choice, and Gonzalez, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
Dario Agrazal made the 14th and final start of his debut season for the Pirates and turned in a strong outing. Through 6 innings Agrazal had allowed just 1 run on five hits, no walks, and five home runs. He took the mound to start the 7th inning and allowed a home run to Ian Happ. The Happ home run brought Agrazal’s night to an end.
Manager Clint Hurdle then summoned lefty Francisco Liriano from the bullpen. Liriano walked the first batter he faced, but then quickly cleaned the mess up thanks in part to a nifty 6-4-3 double play turned by Kevin Newman and Adam Frazier. This sent the game to the 7th inning stretch tied at 2.
Agrazal was at his best on Wednesday night inducing soft contact and missing bats. The Panama native will finish his first MLB season with a 4.91 ERA and a 5.91 FIP in 73 1/3 innings pitched across his 14 starts and a relief outing. In the long run Agrazal’s best role on a MLB club is likely as a long man out of the bullpen/spot starter.
In the 8th inning Michael Feliz took over for the Pirates and pitched himself into a jam. After two walks, Feliz found himself in a two runners on with just one out mess. However, he then cleaned his mess up with a pop out to left field and a strikeout.
Newman recorded his 6th triple of the season with two outs in the bottom of the 7th inning but was stranded. In the 8th inning the Pirates threatened again, and would capitalize.
With one out in the inning Osuna and Pablo Reyes drew back-to-back walks. This was followed by back-to-back wild pitches by David Phelps. The first moved each runner up 90 feet, and the second scored Osuna. Gonzalez then hit a sacrifice fly to plate Reyes, making the score 4-2 Pirates.
Keone Kela took the mound in the 9th inning looking for his first save of the season. After Kela issued a lead off walk, Osuna and Newman teamed up to turn a 3-6-3 double play.
The third and final game of the series is scheduled for 7:05 on Thursday night. Joe Musgrove (4.49 ERA, 3.91 FIP) will make his 31st and final start of the season for the Pirates. The Cubs will send lefty Jose Quintana (4.55 ERA, 3.87 FIP) to the mound.