Chad Kuhl was effective, only allowing one run over six innings but the Bucs’ bullpen collapsed again, giving up six runs over the final three innings. But it’s hard to get too frustrated with the bullpen’s mediocre performance when the Pirates’ bats failed to show up, entirely. The Cubs took a 7-0 win in game one behind apparent ace, Mike Montgomery.
As the Pirates’ offense didn’t have anything to contribute to this section, here’s how Chicago’s scoring went:
Rizzo initiated Chicago’s run production in the top of the 2nd with a solo shot to right center.
Addison Russell followed suit in 7th inning with a two run home run to left.
The Cubs poured it on again in the 8th inning with Kyle Crick in for relief. Rizzo led the inning off with a single up the middle. Baez followed up with an infield hit and reached second on a throwing error by Crick. Schwarber was intentionally walked to load the bases for Cubs’ newcomer, Chris Gimenez. Gimenez delivered a ground ball to Mercer who fired the ball to Diaz while getting the force out at the plate. When Diaz began his throwing motion in an effort to turn the double play, Rizzo slid into his leg causing him to air mail the throw down the right field line. Baez and Schwarber were both able to score on the errant throw. Diaz was slow to get up after having his legs taken out.
Hurdle challenged the play as Rizzo’s slide seemed to have been a clear violation of Rule 7.13, which reads:
A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). If, in the judgment of the Umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the Umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball).
The call on the field was upheld and Hurdle was later ejected. Pirates escaped the inning without further damage.
Rodriguez came in to pitch the 9th and yielded consecutive singles to Russell, Bryant, Rizzo, and Baez which allowed the Cubs to push their two final runs across.
Rizzo was welcomed with a sea of ‘boos’ from Pirates fans when he stepped up to the plate in the 9th inning. Being down 5-0, I’m a little surprised and disappointed that Rodriguez didn’t try to brush him back. On the other hand, the slide in the 8th inning only would have been a game changer had the Pirates hitters been able to muster up any amount of offense, today. As it turns out, you need to score runs if you want to win……
The Pirates will try again tomorrow at 7:05pm EDT in game two behind Nick Kingham.
Happy Memorial Day!