You get a hit! and you get a hit! and yes, you too get a hit! It was just like Oprah had come to PNC Park as the Pirates lashed 23 hits, including 7 doubles and 5 home runs, en route to an 18-5 thrashing of the visiting Chicago Cubs.
Eleven Pirates’ batters stepped to the plate in the game. Eleven collected at least one hit.
Colin Moran had five hits, including a pair of doubles. Adam Frazier had five hits, including a MLB record tying four doubles. Last but not least, All-Star first baseman Josh Bell had four hits, three of them reaching the seats as he drove home seven runs. Those three players combined for 14 hits in 17 at bats.
The Pirates started right out of the box, scoring four in the opening frame and three more in the second inning against Chicago pitcher Adbert Alzolay in only his third major league game. Adam Frazier singled, the first of his five hits. Bryan Reynolds walked, then Starling Marte singled to drive in Frazier right before Josh Bell shot a laser into the right field stands for his 23rd home run. Four batters, four runs.
Once more in the second inning, Frazier led off with a double and two outs later Bell dropped his second homer of the game into the right field stands.
But is a 7-1 lead enough against the first place Chicago Cubs? Perhaps not, when Pirates’ starter Trevor Williams started losing his command in the fourth inning. A double to deep left center. A line out to center. Walk, single, single, hit by pitch, then an RBI single to the pitcher. After Kyle Schwarber’s long drive to right narrowly went foul, another walk to load the bases, but Kris Bryant popped out on a 3-1 pitch, Williams’ 34th of the inning, to end the threat.
By the bottom of the seventh it was 13-5 in favor of Pittsburgh, so Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon threw in the towel by sending a position player, Daniel Descalso, out to the mound to pitch. He got the first two outs on three pitches, but Moran singled and Jung-ho Kang lined his seventh homer just inside the left field foul pole.
Down 15-5, Maddon went from position player back to his multi-million dollar All-World closer Craig Kimbrel, just signed last week. Jose Osuna slammed a pitch over the center field wall, his fourth pinch-homer of the year. Twp pitches later Frazier drove one deep to center, hitting the top of the padding and bouncing back onto the field, forcing Frazier to settle for his fourth double of the game. After retiring Reynolds and Marte, Kimbrel served up one more meat ball that Bell delived to the glove of a fan standing behind the railing in the center field stands, making him the first switch-hitter to ever hit three home runs in a game in Pirates’ history.
Two players with five hits, and a third with three home runs.
The loss dropped the Cubs a game behind the Brewers in the Central Division, only four games ahead of the Pirates
The two teams are scheduled to meet again at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday night at PNC Park, with Cubs’ veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.36) being activated from the Injured List to face the Pirates’ right-hander Joe Musgrove (6-7, 4.27)