Pittsburgh Pirates Winning Steak Ends as Jerad Eickhoff Gets Rocked

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Jerad Eickhoff #43 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on June 22, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Jerad Eickhoff #43 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on June 22, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

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After Jerad Eickhoff allowed 7 runs in the top of the 2nd inning the Pittsburgh Pirates were blown out by the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, ending their winning streak at three games

Wednesday night the script was flipped at PNC Park. In the first two games of their four-game series against the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up a pair of blowout victories by a combined score of 19-2.

In game three of the series it was Chicago’s turn to be one right side of a blowout. After falling to the Cubs 14-5 on Wednesday night, the Pirates are now 28-40. They will still be able to secure a series victory on Thursday afternoon.

Jerad Eickhoff struggles mightily in return to the majors

Making his first MLB appearance since July 27th of last season, veteran righty Jerad Eickhoff started for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, Eickhoff showed why he had not pitched in the majors in almost a year and had an ERA of 4.84 at Triple-A this season.

After posting a zero in the 1st inning, things quickly fell apart for Eickhoff in the 2nd inning. He loaded the bases with no one out. Then with the bases loaded, hit his second batter of the inning to make the score 1-0 Cubs. This was the opening of the floodgates and when the bleeding finally stopped the Cubs took a 7-0 lead.

In the 5th inning the Cubs would score 3 more runs off of Eickhoff before his night came to an end. All told, Eickhoff allowed 10 runs, all earned, on 10 hits, he hit 3 batters, allowed 2 home runs, walked a batter and struck out 4 in 4.1 innings pitched.

In the last start Eickhoff made with the Mets last season he allowed 10 earned runs, this made him the first MLB pitcher since 1940 to allow 10+ runs in back-to-back starts. Let’s hope this was both Eickhoff’s first and last appearances as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Eickhoff had no business starting this game. He had struggled mightily at Triple-A this season and the start should have gone to pitching prospect Cody Bolton. With Duane Underwood Jr. cleared to return from the COVID IL, let’s hope that Eickhoff is sent packing on Thursday to clear a roster spot for Underwood Jr.

A notable night for Diego Castillo

Diego Castillo started at second base for the Pirates and had a night that included a little but of everything. In the 2nd inning Castillo hit a solo home run. His 5th home run of the season cut the Cub lead to 7-1 at the time.

Then in the 9th inning Castillo would toe the rubber for the Bucs. Making his second pitching appearance of the season, Castillo allowed 4 runs on 2 hits, 2 walks and a home run. Most importantly, Castillo helped Derek Shelton save the bullpen an inning in a game that was out of hand and he deserves a tip of the cap for that. He also reached on an error in the bottom half of the inning.

Chase De Jong steps up for the Pirates

While Castillo helped by pitching the 9th, the biggest reason Shelton was able to save his bullpen was the work of Chase De Jong. The righty was called up with the Pirates trailing 10-1 in the 5th inning and he would keep the score right there.

De Jong pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit. He walked a batter and struck out 2 in his 3.2 innings pitched. This outing lowered De Jong’s ERA on the season to 1.67 as he continues to quietly put together a strong season.

Young Bucs strike for runs in the bottom of the 9th, Oneil Cruz makes history

With the bases loaded in the 9th inning Oneil Cruz hit a dribbler up the third base line. Cub third baseman P.J. Higgins fumbled around with the ball, which led to everyone being safe on the bases and the Pirates scoring a run.

While Cruz was not credited with a hit on the play he did pick up a RBI. This gave Cruz at least 1 RBI in each of his first five games in the majors, by doing so Cruz became the first player to have a RBI in their first five MLB games since Gerardo Parra in 2009.

Bligh Madris would then continue his own hot start to his MLB career. With two outs in the inning he doubled to deep center field off of left Daniel Norris. This cleared the bases and cut the Cub lead to 14-5, while also giving Madris 6 RBI through his first three MLB games.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to secure a series victory when they send ex-Cub José Quintana (3.66 ERA, 3.91 FIP) to the mound. Chicago will fellow with a lefty of their own in Just Steele (4.27 ERA, 3.46 FIP). First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 12:35 PM ET.