A five-run seventh inning capped by a three-run Andrew McCutchen homer keyed an 8-7 Pirates comeback victory as they slugged it out against the Cubs Saturday.
Starter Tyler Glasnow pitched significantly better than he did in his first start, in that he generally threw the ball in the direction of the zone, walking only two while whiffing seven. Nonetheless, he gave up six runs, four earned. Those included a two-run homer to Kris Bryant on a very poor pitch in the first, then a two-run double to Addison Russell in the third.
The good news (and I’ve edited this part — you can make fun of me for what I wrote previously, because I was watching chunks of the Chicago broadcast and looking through MLB.com’s pitch logs, which apparently, and understandably, mistook many of Glasnow’s 90-MPH changeups for fastballs) is that Glasnow was apparently using his changeup a great deal. He used it sparingly in his first start, and I noted at the time that it would help him take a step forward if he could use the pitch more frequently. This time, he used the pitch to strike out Anthony Rizzo in the first and Kyle Schwarber in the second, and he also used his curveball as a strikeout pitch.
The Pirates, meanwhile, grabbed one run in the second (on a solo shot by Francisco Cervelli, who’s already doubled last season’s homer total) and third (on a single by Starling Marte that followed an Adam Frazier triple). They also added one in the sixth as Marte homered to left center.
But it was in the seventh that they really broke out. With one out, Josh Harrison hit his first homer of the season. Alen Hanson singled and stole second, then came home on Frazier’s line-drive single. Marte drew a rare walk, and up came McCutchen, who golfed Pedro Strop’s slider to left to give the Pirates a two-run lead and put reliever Trevor Williams in line for the win. Juan Nicasio, Daniel Hudson and Tony Watson took over from there, and though Watson gave up another homer to Bryant, the Pirates did finish out the victory.
And so, as bleak as things looked for the Pirates as of two days ago, they’re now a totally reasonable 5-6, with two straight wins over a tough opposing team and with their offense showing signs of life. They’ll attempt to sweep the Cubs tomorrow.