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Pirates defeat Cubs 8-6

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The first game of the Pirates’ final six-game homestand was a bit of a rollercoaster. After a clean first inning from Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh’s offense got rolling as Colin Moran smashed a three-run shot following a Kevin Newman infield single and Bryan Reynolds double. That 3-0 lead did not last.

In the top of the third, the Cubs tied the game thanks to five hits and a walk. They could have scored more, but David Bote grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. The top of the fifth inning was a lot like the top of the third. After a walk and three straight hits, the Cubs led 5-3. At that point, Keller’s night was done. In total, it was a frustrating night for him as he allowed six earned runs on nine hits in just four innings plus. He walked three and struck out just two. His ERA has yet again risen above six (6.27). Anthony Banda finished the inning as cleanly as possible allowing just a sac fly. That run of course was charged to Keller.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Pirates’ offense caught fire. Reynolds led things off with a single. Moran walked. Jacob Stalling then singled to load the bases. At that point, Cubs’ starting pitcher Alec Mills was replaced with left-hander Adam Morgan. Ben Gamel was able to produce against the lefty with a sac fly. Anthony Alford followed that up with a strikeout. With two outs, Hoy Park put on his clutch pants and delivered a two-run triple to tie the game at six (note again the left on left success). Pinch hitter Micheal Chavis, who today just returned from injury, gave the Pirates a 7-6 lead with a single. In the seventh, Moran tacked on one more run via a single to give the Pirates an 8-6 lead. They would win by that score.

In total, the Pirates clubbed 10 hits. Reynolds had three of them. Moran and Stallings also had two apiece. Tonight was the Pirates' 59th win. Many sportsbooks set their season win total at 58.5 before the season. Cheers to the over!

Tomorrow, the Pirates will look to continue their home success (they’ve won three straight home series). Roansy Contreras will be making his major league debut. This will be fun to watch as Contreras looks to be a huge part of the Pirates’ potential future success. Starting for the Cubs will be Kyle Hendricks (14-7, 4.81 ERA). Against Pittsburgh this season, the soft-tossing righty has struggled giving up 16 earned runs over 19.1 innings pitched. Let’s also not forget about the five home runs.

First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. ET.