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Pirates fall to Cubs in wild 13-inning, 8-7 game

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Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates came back from a 3-0 deficit, then blew a three-run lead themselves before seesawing back and forth in extra innings as the Cubs finally won, 8-7, after 13 innings and more than five hours of play.

Steven Brault allowed a run in the first thanks in part to his own throwing error, and two more in the third when Starling Marte failed to catch a fly ball by Jorge Soler near the wall in left that went for a two-run double.

And that should have been it, right? The Pirates couldn't come back against Jake Arrieta. Inconceivable! Well, maybe not -- they scored six runs against him in a start early last month. And they would do so again Monday.

Josh Bell hit the second homer of his career (and second career home run against the Cubs) in the fourth. But it was in the sixth that the Pirates would really do damage. Josh Harrison singled and Bell walked, and Gregory Polanco smashed a fastball to the opposite field to put the Bucs up 4-3. Harrison (who also had an excellent play defensively today) came to the plate after David Freese singled and Francisco Cervelli walked in the seventh and doubled off Travis Wood, bringing home two more runs that were ultimately charged to Arrieta.

Neftali Feliz pitched a high-drama eighth inning that began with a double by Jason Heyward and a two-run homer by Willson Contreras that cut the lead to 6-5. He then coughed up a double to Javier Baez. He whiffed Matt Sczcur and Dexter Fowler, though, and after giving up a wild pitch and walking Kris Bryant, struck out Anthony Rizzo to strand the tying and go-ahead runs.

From there, it looked like the Pirates might have been able to escape, despite a number of very long, loud foul balls from the Cubs that might well have led to more runs than the five they'd ended up with to that point. But the Cubs had an extra bit of power in them -- Tony Watson allowed a long solo home run to Soler with one out in the ninth, and the Cubs tied the game.

There was more drama in the tenth. The Cubs loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles and a walk. Rizzo grounded a ball to first, and Sean Rodriguez stepped on the bag, seemingly almost accidentally, and threw home. Javier Baez was ruled out on the tag, and the play was too close to be overturned on replay.

More drama! In the 12th, Jeff Locke gave up a one-out triple to Baez, and Addison Russell flied out to left. Marte, with his cannon of an arm, beat Baez home with his throw, and the Pirates escaped yet again.

It was the Pirates who finally broke the tie, and in relatively un-dramatic fashion. Freese led off the 13th with an infield single off Rob Zastryzny's glove, Cervelli followed with a single, and Jordy Mercer walked. After Rodriguez struck out, Harrison -- there he was again -- lifted a fly ball to bring Freese home.

In the bottom of the inning, though, the Cubs tied the game yet again on three straight singles, the last by Rizzo. Locke intentionally walked Ben Zobrist to load the bases with no outs, and Miguel Montero singled home the winner.

This is, I'm sure, all a bit scattershot, but it'll have to do for now, since I have to teach early in the morning. It was a wild game, and it's a shame the Pirates couldn't have come away with a win.

The Cardinals won and the Mets beat the Marlins, so the Pirates are a game and a half game back of St. Louis and one ahead of Miami and New York for the second Wild Card spot.