This was not the way that the Pittsburgh Pirates hoped to begin a six-game road trip against divisional foes. After tough losses in game one and two of this three game series with the Chicago Cubs, they saw an early lead evaporate into a 7-2 defeat. Once again bullpen woes played a factor, along with a tough night from the offense.
Pittsburgh took the lead in the third inning when Tucupita Marcano hit an RBI single to left center to score Ji Hwan Bae. Three batters later Jason Delay would come home on a ground out from Carlos Santana. That would be the last we would see of the Pirates offense on the night, as Chicago would plate the next seven runs.
Ian Happ, who has killed Pittsburgh this series, got it going with an RBI single in the third. He would strike again in the fifth with an RBI double. Happ then scored on a Cody Bellinger double. Christopher Morel drove in a run with a single to shallow left center. Bellinger came in when Nick Madrigal sacrificed. A fielding error by Marcano would allow Morel to score. Morel drove in the final run of the night in the sixth on a sac fly.
Pirates starter Johan Oviedo struck out eight batters, but allowed eight hits, to go along with one walk and four runs allowed. He lasted just 4.1 innings due to a high pitch count. Jose Hernandez only collected one out, while allowing two runs, one earned, on two hits with two walks. Yerry De Los Santos was next out of the pen, working 1.1 innings allowing one run on one hit with two strikeouts and one walk. The seventh belonged to Rob Zastryzny and he kept the Cubs off the board, giving up a hit and striking out one batter. Angel Perdomo gave up one walk during his time on the mound in the eighth.
Marcus Stroman pitched six innings for Chicago. He would allow two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Anthony Kay worked a scoreless seventh with a strikeout and one hit allowed. Julian Merryweather gave up a hit in the eighth, but struck out the other three batters he faced. Michael Rucker struck out one batter while working the ninth.
This was a very frustrating series, as it appears the Pittsburgh bullpen is currently in shambles. It has been overworked as of late and setup man Colin Holderman was placed on the 15-day IL with right wrist inflammation. Things will not get any easier for the Pirates as they head north to take on the Milwaukee Brewers for three games. The winner of this series will be in first place in the division when the dust settles, with Pittsburgh currently holding a half game lead over Milwaukee. Thankfully the Brewers have lost six straight games.
Record vs. Cubs: 0-3
Record vs. N.L. Central: 10-7
Record on the Road: 16-17
Overall Record: 34-33
Let’s Go Bucs!