Chicago Cubs’ pitching solid as club falls to the Pirates in extras


Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It seemed for a short time the Chicago Cubs (0-2) had overcome their offensive woes and would get their first win. The Pirates (2-0) had other ideas.

Carlos Villanueva (0-2) was the last man standing and took his second loss of the season as the Pirates scored in the 16th to top the Cubs 4-3 at PNC Park.

The game, just under six hours, was the longest baseball game in Pittsburgh’s history. Both teams had opportunities to close out the game in regulation, but both closers blew the save chance and that led to the marathon matchup.

Cubs pitching was again solid as Edwin Jackson (0-0, 1.69) pitched 5 1/3 allowing only one earned run on two hits. The bullpen then pitched 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball to keep the Cubs’ struggling offense in the game.

Anthony Rizzo had an exceptional at-bat in extras, battling off several good pitches from Jeanmar Gomez before taking an inside fastball into the right field stands. It was the Cubs’ first home run of the season, as well as their first lead.

The joy was short-lived as new Cubs closer Jose Veras struggled in the 12th, before finally surrendering a run scoring single to Starling Marte that tied the game at 3-3.

The Cubs were able to score a couple of victories on the evening. In the top of the eighth, Nate Schierholtz looked to have hit into an inning-ending double play. But Rick Renteria asked for a review and the call was overturned as the throw to second pulled the fielder away from the bag.

The Cubs also had a play upheld in the bottom half of the inning as well after the Pirates asked for a review.

The Cubs Jason Hammel is scheduled to make his regular season debut Thursday afternoon against the Pirates Wandy Rodriguez. The game is scheduled for a 12:35 ET start.