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Efficient Pirates crush Cubs, 7-3

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Justin K. Aller

Is there a bigger cliche than "taking care of business"? Maybe not, but there hasn't been a ton of poetry in what the Pirates have done in the past week or so, which is to systematically, competently and thoroughly beat up on teams they're better than.

The Pirates scored in every inning from the second through the sixth to keep the Cubs at arm's length even as Chicago scored a few runs on Gerrit Cole in the middle innings. The Bucs ended up winning 7-3.

Clint Hurdle probably let Cole pitch for a bit too long, but the specifics aren't that important in a win like this. Josh Harrison had three hits, just doing his usual twice-a-week gig. Jordy Mercer also had three, because he bats second and when you bat second you get on base, because that's your job. Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker had two hits apiece because that's what a PNC Park crowd expects of them. Chris Stewart had two hits because ... well, I don't have a good explanation there. Oh, and then John Holdzkom, Tony Watson and John Axford all threw like six pitches and struck out nine batters because the bullpen is good now and the relievers just wanted to do their jobs so they all could get home to see their kids. The Pirates had a job to do against a bad Cubs team, and they did it, because they're pros.

Since their win in the completion of the suspended game (also against the Cubs) last Sunday, the Pirates have beaten their opponents with the straightforward professionalism with which a great dentist fixes teeth. This sounds like a double-edged sword, but it isn't. May their recent streak of bloodless competence carry them all the way through October.