Under normal circumstances, the Pittsburgh Pirates getting fourteen hits and six runs in a game would be cause for optimism.
It’s not when you’re on the wrong side of a rout.
For the third time in a row, the Chicago Cubs obliterated the Bucs 16-6 in the final game of their last meeting of 2019 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs scored 47 runs over those three days, tying the record for the most runs they’ve scored in a three-game series. The last time they scored that many was in 1894 ... against the Pirates.
The first of two homers the resurging Kris Bryant would hit in the game got the Cubs’ scoring festivities underway in the first inning. Bryant’s dinger brought in Anthony Rizzo and Nicholas Castellanos to make it 3-0. The Pirates did briefly come to life in the third inning. Erik Gonzales and starter Trevor Williams both singled, Williams doing so on a bunt that resulted in first baseman Rizzo spraining his right ankle and being forced to leave the game. The hot rookie tandem of Kevin Newman and Bryan Reynolds packed a one-two punch in the most literal sense—Newman’s single brought in Gonzalez while Reynolds’s double right behind that scored Williams. Pablo Reyes lined sharply to center to get Newman and Reynolds across the plate, and Colin Moran reeled him in with another line drive single to make it 5-4 for the Buccos.
But here came the bottom of the third, and here came the Cubs’ answer. Bryant’s second homer combined with consecutive singles from Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist, which set up Victor Caratini’s sac fly that tied the game. After he walked Jason Heyward, that was the end for Trevor Williams. Not that Michael Feliz was an improvement; after striking out Nico Hoerner, he gave up a triple to pinch-hitter Tony Kemp that scored Zobrist and Heyward, then blew a throw that brought Kemp home and made the score 8-5 in favor of the Cubs.
The Pirates scored one more run in the fourth with the same cast of characters that gave them the lead in the third (Newman, Reynolds and Reyes), but that would be all. The Cubs, meanwhile, got a couple more homers from Schwarber and Jonathan Lucroy, which brought their series total to 14, breaking the team record for most home runs in a series that was set with 12 in 1998.
After a badly-needed off day on Monday, the Pirates come home to PNC Park to take on the Seattle Mariners in a three-game series beginning Tuesday night at 7:05. Mitch Keller (1-4, 8.29) is slated to take the mound for the Bucs against the Mariners’ Marco Gonzales (15-11, 4.30).