The Chicago Cubs (2-2) got back in the win column on Monday, opening the home portion of the simulated season at Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates (1-3), via MLB The Show 20. José Quintana pitched well early, Willson Contreras hit a grand slam, and the Cubs walked off with a 6-5 victory.
Quintana and Pirates starter Mitch Keller were both in control in the early innings. Keller didn’t allow a hit until the bottom of the 4th, when singles from Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez, and Kyle Schwarber loaded the bases with nobody out. That brought up Willson Contreras, who took Keller deep for a grand slam ti give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
On the other side, Quintana was perfect through the first four innings until Josh Bell broke it up with a single leading off the 5th. The Pirates loaded the bases against Quintana with nobody out, but unlike the Cubs in the previous half-inning, Pittsburgh quietly stranded all three runners.
They would break through against Q in the 6th, however. Shortstop Kevin Newman hit a one-out double, which was followed by a walk to Adam Frazier and a three-run homer by Bell. Quintana then walked third baseman Colin Moran, ending his day on the mound. Casey Sadler entered and walked Gregory Polanco, but then induced two pop-outs to end the threat.
Quintana finished the day with a line score that wasn’t exactly indicative of how good he was for the majority of the game. He went 5 1/3 innings and was charged with four hits, three walks, and three earned runs while striking out five.
The Pirates went to former Cub Derek Holland in relief of Keller, and Albert Almora Jr. got him for a pinch-hit solo homer in the bottom of the 6th to increase the lead to 5-3. Cubs manager David Ross sent Sadler back out to the mound in the 7th, but Ross quickly pulled the right-hander after a leadoff single by pinch-hitter Kevin Kramer.
Rowan Wick was next into the game for Chicago, and a single by Newman sent Kramer over to third with nobody out. The Pirates would tack on another run with a sac fly, but Wick escaped further damage. Pittsburgh finally caught the Cubs in the 8th, however, when Moran hit a leadoff homer against left-hander Kyle Ryan, knotting the score at 5-5.
Craig Kimbrel pitched the 9th for the Cubs, tossing his first clean inning of the season and striking out one batter. The Cubs closer ended up with the win thanks to some 9th inning heroics from David Bote and Victor Caratini. Bote hit a single off Pirates reliever Richard Rodriguez with one out and then stole second. Caratini knocked a pinch-hit single to the game in walk-off fashion, 6-5.
Contreras – 1-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, BB
Bote – 2-for-2, SB, R
Almora – 1-for-2, HR, RBI
Caratini – 1-for-1, RBI
Bell – 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI
Newman – 2-for-5, 2B, R
Moran – 1-for-2, HR, RBI, 2 BB
Winning Pitcher – Kimbrel (1-0)
Losing Pitcher – Rodriguez (0-1)
Save – none
Home Runs – Contreras (2), Almora (1), Bell (1), Moran (2)