The Pittsburgh Pirates needed a touchdown and a field goal if they had any hope of coming back againts the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon, as the Cubbies put up 17 runs on their way to a 17-8 victory at Wrigley Field. It’s safe the say the wind was blowing out in the Windy City.
Pittsburgh starting things off really well in the top of the first inning off of lefty veteran Jon Lester, and some defensive miscues helped. After a Kevin Newman single, fellow rookie Bryan Reynolds walked on a bases loaded count, and Willson Contreras sent a throw into center field. After Newman advanced to third, center fielder Albert Almora Jr lost control of his throw too, and Newman won the race to home plate giving the Pirates a 1-0. The Bucs would go on to score three more runs in the inning off of a Pablo Reyes two-run triple and an Adam Frazier RBI double. Things felt great going into the bottom of the first up 4-0.
The Cubs didn’t wait long to battle back though, and the Wrigley crowd loved it. Nick Castellanos hammered a Steven Brault fastball into the left field bleachers for a two-run shot, and Contrereas made up for his error with a monster homer of his own. After a Kyle Schwarber double, Nico Hoerner took Brault deep again for a two-run homer of his own in his first home at-bat in a Cubs uniform. All of a sudden, it was 5-4 Cubs.
Things settled down for an inning, but the bottom of the third brought more trouble for Brault and company. Contrereas crushed another homer, this one to DEEP center field. He became the first player this season to hit two 450 foot home runs in the same game. After Brault recorded two quick outs, Alex Mcrae replaced him and promptly walked David Bote, allowed a single to Almora, and walked Lester on four pitches. That brought up lead-off hitter Anthony Rizzo, and I think we all know how this story ends. After a line drive grand slam to left, the Cubs suddenly led 10-4.
The Pirates were able to cut the lead to three runs in the top of the fifth inning as a result of another Contreras throwing error. Elias Diaz chipped in two with an RBI single. Unfortunately, Josh Bell came up lame when running between first and second and was pulled from the game, which is much more impactful than a three-run inning at this point in the season. There’s no word yet on his status. It was 10-7 heading to the bottom of the fifth, but it didn’t stay that way for long.
For the second time this season, the Pirates allowed the opposing team to get every hitter in their order on base in one inning. That’s what happened in the bottom of the fifth inning. The inning was highlighted by two more Hoerner RBI on a single, an RBI double from Jason Heyward, and an RBI double by Castellanos to cap off the inning.
Kevin Newman singled home Cole Tucker in the eighth inning to bring the final count to 17-8. It was a rough day for the entire Pirates pitching staff, especially considering the Bucs 4-0 lead after the top half of the first. They’ll look to rebound behind starter James Marvel on Saturday at 2:20 pm Eastern. Marvel will take on command specialist Kyle Hendricks.