The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the midst of a slump, and it is not coming at a good time of the year. After today’s 9-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs, they now hold only a two game lead over Chicago for the top Wild Card spot. They also currently sit 4 ½ games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the top seed in the National League.
Early on both teams were roughing up on the starting pitching. The Cubs would score six runs, five earned off of starter Charlie Morton. Morton would only last four innings, while giving up nine hits to go along with five strikeouts and two walks. The Pirates would respond with four runs off of Kyle Hendricks. Travis Snider started the home run barrage with a solo shot to center in the second. Two more long balls would take place in the third. Gregory Polanco would hit a solo shot of his own, and then that would be followed up with a two run home run by Pedro Alvarez.
A sloppy fifth inning is what doomed the Buccos today. Chicago came around to score five runs in the fifth, which gave Pittsburgh a mountain too big to climb. Three of those runs would come off the usually steady Joe Blanton. Bobby LaFromboise, Rob Scahill, and Vance Worley would finish off the final five innings and not allow a run.
The Pirates added two more runs in the seventh. Polanco drove in his second run of the day with a single to right. A ground rule double by Neil Walker drove in Polanco for the final run of the day. A huge blow also took place in the first inning when Jung Ho Kang was injured trying to turn a double play. His knee looked to hyper extend and was not putting weight on the leg while coming off the field.
This was a terrible series for the Buccos. They had a great chance to bridge a gap between them and the Cubs for the top Wild Card spot and inch closer to St. Louis. Now they have Chicago breathing down their necks with a 10 game road trip on the horizon. They will now head west to begin a three game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers tomorrow night. Waiting for them in the first two games of the series will be Zack Grienke and Clayton Kershaw.
Record vs. Cubs: 6-10
Record vs. N.L. Central: 29-38
Record at Home: 50-25
Overall Record: 87-59
Let’s Go Bucs!