The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs brought their division rivalry to the national stage tonight and the Pittsburgh fans came away happy. Another solid pitching performance from Ivan Nova, plus a two-run home run from Gregory Polanco, sealed the deal on a 4-2 Pirates victory over Chicago. It is always nice to see the “L” flag fly at Wrigley Field.
Nova has easily been the Pirates best pitcher in 2017 and he showed that once again tonight. He would pitch 6.2 innings and allow two runs on three hits, to go along with six strikeouts and one walk. Those two runs allowed came in the fourth inning when Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber hit back to back solo home runs. The Schwarber home run gave the Cubs their only lead of the night.
The Buccos struck first in the top half of the fourth inning when Josh Bell scored on a Francisco Cervelli ground out. Pittsburgh would retake the lead in the sixth when Polanco hit a Jake Arrieta pitch into the center field bleacher seats. Jordy Mercer would then add an insurance run by hitting a RBI double to left center field.
Three men would come out of the Bucco bullpen tonight and all three did the job. Tony Watson collected the final out of the seventh on a comebacker to the mound. Juan Nicasio gave up a hit and struck out a batter during his .2 innings of work. That would lead Felipe Rivero to the bump for a four out save. Rivero walked the first batter he faced, but shut the door on the next four to earn his sixth save of the year.
The win tonight gives Pittsburgh a chance to win back to back series before the All-Star break and possibly carry some momentum entering the second half of the season. Jameson Taillon will lead the Pirates tomorrow as he faces off against Jon Lester. Taillon will look to pick up his sixth win of the year and game time is 1:10pm.
Record vs. Cubs: 6-5
Record vs. N.L. Central: 13-18
Record on the Road: 20-25
Overall Record: 41-47
Let’s Go Bucs!