The first two games of the Cubs/Pirates series could not have been more different. Game 1 featured a 14-run Chicago beatdown of the Bucs. Game 2 was a 1-0 pitchers duel featuring a gem by Gerritt Cole. The Northsiders sought their first sweep of the 2017 season as Game 3 opened.
Pittsburgh starter Tyler Glasnow ran into trouble immediately on Wednesday night. Doing his best Ricky Vaughn impression, Glasnow put nine batters on base the first three innings but allowed only a single run.
Jon Lester did not fare as well. Leadoff hitter Josh Harrison greeted him with a homer to left and Francisco Cervelli doubled home Gregory Polanco later in the inning.
After Anthony Rizzo got a painful hit-by-pitch RBI in the 2nd, the Pirates added more. Phil Gosselin doubled home a run. Then Harrison broke for second base with men on the corners. Lester stepped off the rubber and ran at the Pirates runner, flipping the ball to Javy Baez while Gosselin broke for home. Baez fired home in time but Willson Contreras dropped the ball.
Later in the inning, Andrew McCuctheon doubled to put the home team up 5-1. The Cubs finally got to Glasnow in the 4th inning, when an outfielder-assisted double by Kris Bryant and a Rizzo single cut the deficit to 5-3.
The Pittsburgh pen shut down the Cubs for the next three innings. Lester also settled down, allowing only a Josh Bell homer in his sixth and final inning.
In the 8th inning, the Cubs got to Pirates reliever Daniel Hudson. Rizzo launched a deep two-run blast to right to bring Chicago within one. That was close as it got, though, as Tony Watson got the final four outs and Pittsburgh won 6-5.
Stats That Matter
- Jason Heyward singled and walked twice in five at-bats. It’s good to see Heyward regain his patient approach along with his power.
- Kris Bryant had 3 hits in 4 at-bats and is starting to get back near the .300 mark.
- Anthony Rizzo was 2-for-3 with 4 RBI
- Gift Ngoepe made his Major League debut and walked and singled in three AB’s. Ngoepe, a native of South Africa, is the first African-born player in MLB history.
The Cubs failure to cash in on early chances turned out to haunt them. Despite the failed comeback effort, a 4-2 start to a road trip is nothing to sneeze at.
The Cubs take Thursday off before heading to Boston for a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday. Jake Arrieta faces off against lefty Drew Pomeranz at 6:10 CT on CSN+ and MLB Network.