In a frgid Wrigley Field in Chicago, Pirates starting pitcher Jordan Lyles tied his career high with 10 strike outs, and backed by home runs from Francisco Cervelli and Starling Marte, cruised to a 5-2 victory Wednesday night.
Trying to prove that his five inning, three hit shutout performance in his first start wasn’t a fluke, Lyles showed excellent command of his 93 to 94 mph fastball and mixed in a curve to keep the Chicago batters off balance all night. The only run he allowed was a solo home run by Jason Heyward, finishing with three hits and one walk allowed in six innings of work.
The Pirates started the scoring in the top of the first when Cervelli lined a ball to left, into a stiff breeze, that caught the basket for a round-tripper. In the third, Cubs’ starter Yu Darvish hit Lyles with a pitch and too batters later Marte turned on an inside fastball, launching it high and deep into the seats down the left field line for a 3-0 Pirates lead.
Except for the wind blowing in, the Pirates could’ve had two more home runs on deep drives by Colin Moran and Adam Frazier. Moran hit balls 107 and 108 mph, but went both were caught, before he left for a pinch-hitter with a lefty reliever on the mound.
Richard Rodriguez threw a clean seventh, but Keone Kela ran into trouble in the eighth, allowing a run on a Kris Bryant single, a walk to Anthony Rizzo, and a double lined down the left field line by Javier Baez. At that point manager Clint Hurdle came to the mound for a double-switch, bringing in closer Felipe Vazquez to attempt a five-out save...and that he did, striking out four of the six batters he faced with a fastball regularly hitting 100 mph.
Darvish bounced back from very questionable control in his first two starts, issuing eleven walks in seven innings, but in this game gave out no free passes in five and a third innings. However, he still allowed four earned runs on five hits, two of which left the park.
The teams finish the series at 8:05 Eastern on Thursday night, with the Bucs trying to take two out of the three games, with Joe Musgrove facing Jose Quintana.