Ho-hum -- another day, another uneventful loss to a Cubs team that looks very, very good. Before a crowd largely consisting of schoolchildren, the Pirates quietly lost 6-2, allowing the Cubs to complete a three-game sweep.
The Cubs struck first in the third inning. Their leadoff hitter (Dexter Fowler, in this case) reached, a persistent problem for the Pirates this afternoon. Then, with two outs, Andrew McCutchen tried to make a sliding catch on a ball but dropped it, and Ben Zobrist came up and capitalized with a homer to right-center.
Chicago added another run in the fifth as Anthony Rizzo led off with a double, then came home on a ground-rule double by Javier Baez that got stuck beneath the wall in left.
Meanwhile, the Pirates couldn't get much going against opposing starter Jon Lester, despite recording eight hits and forcing him to throw a ton of pitches over 5.2 innings. They did mount a pretty serious threat in the fourth, loading the bases with no one out, but Lester got a whiff, a fly ball and another whiff and stranded everyone.
After Ryan Vogelsong gave up a leadoff homer to Rizzo in the seventh, the Bucs finally did get on the board, as McCutchen doubled off reliever Adam Warren and Matt Joyce hit his third pinch-hit homer of the season, continuing what's been a ridiculous season so far. (Craig Wilson tied a big-league record by hitting seven pinch-hit homers with the Bucs in 2001. Would it be a surprise if Joyce approached that record at this point?)
The Cubs tacked on an insurance run in the ninth as Mark Melancon allowed leadoff singles to Bryant and Rizzo and then Baez scored Bryant on a groundout.
What else? McCutchen, David Freese and Josh Harrison all had two hits, and there was some chirping between Sean Rodriguez and the Cubs' dugout. In general, though, this was a series to forget. The Pirates will get the chance to redeem themselves at Wrigley next weekend.