The Chicago Cubs (2-4) fell behind early against the Pittsburgh Pirates (3-3) and they were never able to recover. Kyle Hendricks was hit hard and knocked out by the 3rd inning, leaving Pittsburgh starter Joe Musgrove to carve up the lineup. The offense rallied late, but it wasn’t enough in a simulated 8-6 loss at Wrigley Field, via MLB The Show 20.
Hendricks started the game by giving up two runs in the 1st inning on a Colin Moran double that plated Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds. Things were looking good in the 2nd inning, when Hendricks got the first two outs with Musgrove coming to the plate. But the opposing pitcher singled to right field and scored on a double by Kyle Newman. Frazier then hit an RBI single to make it 4-0 in favor of the Pirates.
In the 3rd, Hendricks allowed a leadoff homer to first baseman Josh Bell that pushed the score to 5-0. Manager David Ross had finally seen enough and went to Alec Mills, who was moderately better. The right-hander allowed two hits and one run in 1 2/3 innings of relief, striking out two.
Hendricks’ line was ugly, and it was deserved. He went just two innings, allowing seven hits and five earned runs with no walks and two strikeouts. The bullpen was solid despite being forced to throw six innings, with Ryan Tepera, Casey Sadler, and Kyle Ryan all contributing scoreless performances.
Meanwhile, the Cubs offense tried to come back against Musgrove. In the bottom of the 3rd, Mills and Kris Bryant both walked to start the frame. David Bote doubled to cut the lead to 5-2, then Ian Happ added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3. Both teams scored a run in the 4th inning, making it a 6-4 ballgame.
The Pirates would add two more runs in the top of the 9th, one each against relievers Dan Winkler and Craig Kimbrel. That made the bottom of the inning extra painful, as the Cubs rallied but fell short. Bryant walked with two outs against Pirates closer Keone Kela, Bote hit a clean single, and Javy Báez ripped a double to right field that scored both men and cut the lead to 8-6.
But Kyle Schwarber couldn’t keep the line moving, grounding out to end the game. With their last two victories, the Pirates stole the series from the Cubs on the road. Thursday will be an off day before the Arizona Diamondbacks come in for three. Pittsburgh will fly to Cincinnati to take on the Reds tomorrow, kicking off a three-game series before returning home to face the Cubs in a four-game set at PNC Park beginning Monday.
Bote – 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI
Báez – 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
Heyward – 1-for-3, BB, R
Sadler – 2 1/3 IP, 0 ER
Newman – 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
Frazier – 2-for-4, 2B, RBI
Moran – 1-for-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI
Winning Pitcher – Musgrove (1-1)
Losing Pitcher – Hendricks (0-1)
Save – Kela (3)
Home Runs – Bell (3)