Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras each had three hits, leading the Cubs’ 13-hit attack against Jameson Taillon and a quartet of Pirates relievers.
Taillon didn’t pitch as badly as the box score might indicate, allowing eight hits and four runs over five innings. The Cubs were simply guilty of good hitting while John Lackey, who had been struggling most of the year, put the Pirates’ bats to sleep, as the home team could only manage a second inning single by David Freeze and a fifth inning solo homer by Jordy Mercer off the Cubs’ starter. Elias Diaz had the only other Pirates’ hit.
Rizzo led off the game by taking Taillon’s first pitch, a 94 MPH fastball away, into the left field corner for a double. One out later Contreras lined a 97 MPH heater below the knees off the base of the wall in straight away center, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead, one that they would never relinquish. Before he was done, Taillon managed to also hang a couple of curveballs in the zone, and those were punished as well. After Taillon departed, Rizzo crushed a two-run homer to the center field seats off Wade LeBlanc, and in the ninth Mount Lebanon native Ian Happ deposited a Tony Watson pitch into the bullpen for a solo bomb. In between, Jhan Marinez and Edgar Santana faced four batters, striking out three of them.
Monday night the Pirates will be on the road to face the division leading Milwaukee Brewers, who have homered 103 times in 71 games.