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Kuhl, rookie hitters club Cubs, 12-0

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Kuhl threw seven shutout innings and the Pirates’ rookies exploded on offense against Jake Arrieta and some random Cubs relievers (and one outfielder) as the Pirates beat the Cubs, 12-0.

Kuhl was outstanding against a hot Cubs team. The only real trouble came in the second, when the first two batters reached. Kuhl got a convenient line out to Starling Marte for one out, then gave up a single to left by somebody named Mike Freeman. The Cubs apparently have no scouting reports on Marte, as Ben Zobrist tried to score from second. After Marte disposed of him, Kuhl fanned Arrieta. Beyond that, Kuhl discovered that the secret to pitching to Kris Bryant is having nobody on and two out, as Bryant hit two doubles off Kuhl that proved to be harmless.

Bryant’s second double, with two out in the third, was the last hit Kuhl allowed. Other than a walk in the seventh, one of two he allowed, he gave up no more baserunners. He exited after seven, having given up four hits, fanned eight, and thrown 100 pitches.

The Pirates, meanwhile, went to the longball against Arrieta. With Marte aboard in the first, Josh Bell unloaded a high fly that just dropped into the seats in right for his 24th dinger. In the third, Max Moroff hit one completely over those seats for his third career HR. Two batters later, facing Bell again, Arrieta wanted no part of Bell left with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

The Pirates got some insurance runs against the Cubs’ bullpen. In the fifth, facing some guy whose name is all z’s and y’s, Andrew McCutchen doubled, his first extra base hit in what seems like months. Bell singled him in to make it 4-0. Moroff doubled in Marte in the seventh. In the eighth, the Pirates piled on with seven runs. Jordan Luplow and Elias Diaz both doubled to bring in one, and Moroff later lined a single through the middle with the bases loaded to drive in two. At that point the Cubs, who’d used only four pitchers from their expanded roster, put outfielder Leonys Martin in to pitch. McCutchen greeted him with an RBI single, Bell drove in another with a force out and David Freese hit his tenth HR to center.

A.J. Schugel gave up two hits but threw a scoreless eighth. Dovydas Neverauskas got past a leadoff double in the ninth.

The final tally: Moroff and Bell each had three hits and four RBIs. The Pirates’ rookies as a group drove in nine and had five extra base hits.

Tomorrow Gerrit Cole faces Jose Quintana.