Anytime the wind is blowing out at Wrigley, the pitchers hold their breath with every fly ball. Chicago Cubs’ pitchers had more than a few moments of shortness of breath, but held on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5.
Jason Hammel (2-0, 2.63) gave the Cubs (3-5) another solid start and the bullpen was able to close it out on a night when the wind was blowing out to center field all evening. Hammel allowed only three hits, but all three left the yard in his seven innings pitched.
In the fifth inning with the game tied at 1-1, Mike Olt lifted a high fly ball that, with a little help from the wind, found the left field basket to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Junior Lake then needed no assistance from the wind as he crushed one onto Waveland Ave.
The Cubs added to their lead in the sixth as Anthony Rizzo knocked in Emilio Bonifacio with one of his four hits in the game. Olt then added another run with a single to right to bring home Justin Ruggiano.
Lake then grounded into what appeared to be an inning ending double-play. But the challenge by Rick Renteria had the call overturned as it showed Lake beat out the throw, giving the Cubs a 7-1 lead.
But oh, that Chicago wind.
Pedro Strop entered the game in the ninth in a non-save situation. After getting the lead-off hitter Andrew McCutchen to ground-out, things got interesting. Pedro Alvarez hit his second home-run of the game to cut the lead down to three. Russel Martin then gave the Cubs a little taste of their own medicine hitting his second of the game as the Pirates went back-to-back and the lead was down to two.