Just like the day before, the Pirates failed to score (until Craig Kimbrel entered to get some work) Unlike the previous day, there were know scoring opportunities to waste, although they bumped up their streak of hitless at bats with runners in scoring position.
Jose Quintana beat the Bucs for the fourth time in four starts this year, and hardly appeared to break a sweat as he cruised through seven scoreless innings, allowing just four singles and a double while fanning seven without a walk.
Mitch Keller retired eight of the first ten Cubs batters he faced, but both Nicholas Castellanos in the first and Jason heyward in the third dialed long distance on their hits, giving Chicago a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs added on in the fourth as Keller suffered some bad BABIP luck. Anthony Rizzo led off with a walk and Javier Baez rolled the next pitch past Colin Moran, down the left field line for a double. Kyle Schwarber then hit a four-hopper the other way, past shortstop Kevin Newman who was playing near the bag, for a two-run single.
The wheels came off in the fifth when Heyward and Kris Bryant ripped doubles, forcing Keller from the game, but Anthony Rizzo greeted reliever Chris Stratton with a prodigious home run off the scoreboard in left center field.
The Pirates finally put up a run when Starling Marte, who’d earlier doubled to the wall inc enter field off Quintana, crushed Kimbrel’s first pitch of the ninth, a center cut fastball, well over the fence in left. Pittsburgh proceeded to load the bases, but Pedro Strop got Melky Cabrera on a foul tip to put the game to rest.
The Pirates return home to the ‘burgh on Monday night, facing off with the Washington Nationals in a 7:05 start, the first of a four game set. Right-hander Joe Ross (3-3, 5.91) will face the Pirates’ Trevor Williams (5-5, 5.25)