The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs wrapped up a four-game series at PNC Park on Thursday afternoon. Pittsburgh took the first two games, while Chicago won in a blowout Wednesday night. Thursday’s game looked to be all Pirates, but a late Cubs rally pushed the game to extra innings before Pittsburgh would pick up an 8-7 victory.
Bryan Reynolds got the scoring started in the first on a solo home run to center field. Chicago took the lead in the third with two runs. The first on a fielder’s choice hit by Willson Contreras that scored Nico Hoerner. They took the lead when Ian Happ hit an RBI single to center. The Pirates retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run home run by Ke’Bryan Hayes.
In the bottom of the fifth Hayes would come around to score on fielding error by Patrick Wisdom. One inning later it looked like Pittsburgh had this game in hand when they scored two more runs. Oneil Cruz drove in Yu Chang on a hard-hit line drive to center. Cruz then scored when Tyler Heineman singled to center.
Cubs starter Justin Steele was charged with five of these six runs over 5.2 innings. He would allow seven hits with eight strikeouts. Jose Quintana was solid for the Pirates over six innings. He allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Unfortunately, Quintana would not pick up a win today, as Chicago plated five runs in the eighth inning.
It all started with a Wisdom RBI single to right. Two more runs would come around to score when Hoernersingled to shallow left center. The final two runs of the inning came in on a single to shallow right center by Alfonso Rivas. Four of these runs were charged to Wil Crowe, while the other went to Yerry De Los Santos. Down a run, Michael Chavis tied the game at seven with a solo home run to center in the eighth inning.
After a scoreless ninth inning, this game would head to extra inning. Chris Stratton kept the Cubs off the board in the top of the inning. He was assisted on a great throw to home by Chavis and tag by Heineman. After intentionally walking Reynolds and striking out Diego Castillo, Chavis was the hero once again by hitting a shallow single to right to score Hayes. Hayes collided with Contreras at the plate and looked shaken up. Fortunately, he was able to walk off the field without assistance.
Even though it took longer than expected it was great to see these Buccos get a win after a rough loss last night and blown lead in this game. A series win over a divisional opponent has to bring some confidence to the locker room. This team will hit the road for six games, beginning tomorrow night with the first of three against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Record vs. Cubs: 8-5
Record vs. N.L. Central: 13-23
Record at Home: 17-20
Overall Record: 29-40
Let’s Go Bucs!