The Cubs were back in Pittsburgh, and their the blue-jersey-clad fans had popped back out of their hell holes. Before the game they milled about Federal Street, sipping PBR, another thing they totally were just as into five years ago. For sure. Inside PNC Park, the professionals in blue made pests of themselves, too, knocking Gerrit Cole out after 4 2-3 innings and beating the Pirates, 7-2, on Monday night.
The Cubs' leadoff men got on base in each of the first four innings, they stole three bases and they nipped away at Cole, pushing his pitch count up early.
Chicago took the lead, 2-1, in the third inning. With two outs, Dexter Fowler stole second on a pitch that should have been an inning-ending called third strike to Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo then doubled Fowler home easily, and a Ben Zobrist single plated Rizzo.
Cole ran into more trouble in the fifth, walking Bryant and conceding another Rizzo double. After a Zobrist sacrifice fly, Cole hit Addison Russell with a pitch and walked Matt Szczur to load the bases. That put Cole over 100 pitches, and his night was done, with six strikeouts, four walks and six hits.
A.J. Schugel promptly gave up a two-RBI single to storied former Pirate David Ross to put the Bucs down, 5-1. Then, for the second day in a row, the Pirates got taken by the "Little League Play," as Josh Harrison airmailed a throw home after Ross got into a rundown between first and second.
The rest of the game was annoying, too. Starling Marte got hit by a pitch on the hand (but appeared OK physically, though he proceeded to get caught stealing down four runs). Kyle Lobstein hit Zobrist with a pitch to start the next inning and Joe Maddon apparently yelled bad words at Lobstein, which was awfully La Russa-esque of Maddon.
Lobstein chewed up three innings, which did more good than his HBP and subsequent run-scoring wild pitch did harm. So there's that.
Offensively, they Pirates actually did pretty well considering Jason Hammel's hot start. Hammel lasted five-plus innings, his shortest outing of the season, and the two runs he allowed were also a season-high.
Andrew McCutchen hit a pretty impressive opposite-field home run to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first, mashing an offspeed pitch all the way to the riverwalk beyond right-center field.
Jordy Mercer quietly finished 3-for-3 with a walk. So, again, there's that.