The Pirates' comeback bid came up short Wednesday night and they ended up being swept by the Cubs with a 6-5 loss.
The Cubs scored in the first on Kris Bryant's 36th homer of the season, and added a run on Addison Russell's RBI single in the fourth. In the fifth, the Pirates cut the lead to 2-1 on a pair of walks followed by an infield single by Josh Harrison that deflected off Bryant's glove and allowed Sean Rodriguez to score all the way from second.
The Cubs, though, piled on in the sixth. Ryan Vogelsong had already allowed one run and had two runners on base when Antonio Bastardo relieved him. Bastardo allowed both runners to move up via a wild pitch, then gave up a run via a tiny flinch that was called a balk. Willson Contreras then knocked in the inning's third run with a double to put the Cubs up 5-1.
The Bucs loaded the bases against Trevor Cahill with one out in the seventh. The Cubs got a key second out when Tony Randazzo rang up Josh Bell on a curveball that, by all appearances, missed the zone. The Pirates did get one run when Andrew McCutchen walked, but that would be all they'd get.
They rallied again in the eighth, grabbing two runs on Jordy Mercer's double, and they had two men on with one out, but Harrison struck out and Bell grounded out to end it. They would give themselves another shot in the ninth as Francisco Cervelli singled home Starling Marte on a 104-MPH fastball by Aroldis Chapman. But Mercer struck out with the go-ahead run aboard.
The Pirates played the Cubs close in two of three games this week but couldn't come out with a victory. They now sit 2.5 games back of the Cardinals and one game back of the Mets in the race for the second Wild Card chase.