Brandon Cumpton goes five innings in win
Brandon Cumpton went five innings, allowing only two runs and striking out five, on his way to the win.
The numbers and the outcome don't tell the whole story of the outing, however, as he did allow a lot hard hit balls (a career high line drive percentage of 37.5 percent), many of which were turned into outs.
Afterwards, both Clint Hurdle and Cumpton pointed to his successful escape from a bases-loaded situation in the fifth as important step forward in his maturation.
"I'm kind of happy actually that I got to go through that," Cumpton said of the fifth. "It's something I need to work on right there. Getting in trouble and getting out of it. I feel that was a huge confidence builder for me."
"It was a put your foot down inning and finish it off," Hurdle said. "We fielded him into a jam, and he showed some resiliency and some moxie, made some pitches and got through it."
Andrew McCutchen smoking hot in June
Andrew McCutchen continued his blazing hot month of June, going 2-for-2, with one home run, a double, two walks and two RBI tonight. His slash line for the month is now .421/.500/1.079. Entering the game, he had a league-leading 290 wRC+ for the month.
"This is hot," Hurdle said of McCutchen's recent offensive tear. "When he gets a pitch he's not missing it. He's in command of the at bat."
"It starts to heat up, and me being from Florida, I feel good every single day," McCutchen said of the success he has had over his career in June. "That might have something to do with it. I just get in the swing of things, no pun intended."
Cubs' left field Chris Coghlan went leaping into the left field stands in an attempt to rob McCutchen of his home run in the first inning. McCutchen said it reminded him of a play that Brian Giles made in PNC Park in 2003.
"It was a really good effort, and that is what I was kind of laughing at," McCutchen said. "If he would have caught that, I would have been like, ‘Man, I'm impressed. No one's going to top that play.'"
Bucs bullpen throws four scoreless innings
Justin Wilson, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli (in that order) shut down the Cubs in the final four innings, not allowing a hit or run and striking out five.
The bullpen has nine saves, and zero blown saves, since May 21.
Josh Harrison's painful evening
In his second at bat of the game, Josh Harrison got hit by a pitch on his hand. When his third at-bat rolled around in the third inning, Clint Barmes pinch hit for him. The immediate assumption was that it had to do with being hit by the pitch, but the Pirates announced that Harrison was experiencing discomfort in his left ankle.
Hurdle said that he "rolled his ankle, sprained his ankle" when he planted his right foot returning to first on Gregory Polanco's fly out to center field in the first inning.
"Polanco's ball looked like it might have got down," Harrison said. "But then it hung up, and when I changed direction to go back to first that's when it rolled."
"I'll come in tomorrow get with the trainers and see where we go from there," Harrison said of his status going forward.
Pedro Alvarez throws another one away
In the fifth inning, Pedro Alvarez fielded a hard hit grounder, paused, gathered himself, and then promptly launched it by first baseman Ike Davis for his 13th throwing error of the season.
The record for throwing errors in a season is held by Mark Reynolds, who recorded 18 in 2008. (The statistic has been recorded since 2002 on Fangraphs.)
On Monday, Alvarez took additional fielding practice to specifically work on his throwing. That afternoon, one of the things that Hurdle emphasized was that they were trying to get Alvarez to speed up his throws to first.
Another out on base for Starling Marte
Whether it is bad luck, or just not plain poor baserunning, Starling Marte made another out on the base paths tonight. It was his 10th out on base of the season, which leads the league (Yasiel Puig is second with nine).
In the fifth, with Jordy Mercer on first and Marte on third, Travis Snider popped up in foul ground behind the plate. After the ball was caught, Mercer started to run towards second and drew a throw. Cubs' catcher John Baker threw down to second baseman Darwin Barney, who then immediately threw over to third, catching Marte off the bag.
Hurdle said that Mercer leaving first was part of a designed modified double steal.
"We ran in Milwaukee earlier in the year," Hurdle said. "We drew a throw from about 150 feet with air underneath it and as soon as that ball is out of the catcher's hand we need to break from third."
Marte did continue his improved offensive output tonight, going 2-for-4, with one RBI.
(Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference)