Chicago Cubs win streak snapped in 8-1 loss to Pirates


4. 1. 9. Final. 8

Pirates tag Gonzalez Germen in Cubs 8-1 loss

After taking the series in yesterday’s victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago Cubs witnessed their four-game win streak disappear as reliever Mark Melancon struck out shortstop Starlin Castro to end the game in the 8-1 loss.

Veteran catcher Miguel Montero gave his starting pitcher the early 1-0 lead on a RBI single that deflected off first baseman Pedro Alvarez in the bottom of the second inning. Third baseman Kris Bryant led off the inning with a walk and would come around to score, but the Cubs would fail to capitalize with Montero on second with no outs as Gerrit Cole recorded three straight strikeouts to end the inning.

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Despite the Cubs (12-8) suffering this blow-out loss to the second-place Pirates, Kyle Hendricks had himself a solid outing before exiting after five innings. Hendricks (0-0, 5.23 ERA) gave up only two earned runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts before handing the ball over to reliever Gonzalez Germen.

Meanwhile, Cole (4-0, 1.76 ERA) held the Cubs to just one run on three hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

The Pirates (12-10)  tied things up in the top of the fourth inning with Hendricks on the mound when third baseman Jung Ho Kang plated Starling Marte on a single to left field. Marte reached base safely on a fielder’s choice by Starlin Castro who flipped a groundball to Jonathan Herrera at second base to send Neil Walker jogging back to his own dugout.

He would later steal second base and reach third after a throwing error to Montero found its way into the outfield. Veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen would help extend his team’s lead to 5-1 in the top half of the sixth inning on a standing triple off the ivy in center field.

Marte would add onto Germen’s nightmarish outing by driving in McCutchen on a RBI single to center field, making it a 6-1 game. Germen was tagged for four earned runs on as many hits including two walks in just the sixth inning.

Kang later doubled in the top of the ninth inning after Alvarez led off with a double of his own, extending Pittsburgh’s lead to 7-1. Outfielder Sean Rodriguez – who made yet another start for the injured Gregory Polanco – delivered the eighth Pirates run after grounding into a double-play.

What Stood Out: 

What was really disappointing and stood out the most in this loss, is the fact that the Cubs left only nine on base while the Pirates stranded 23. Most of the lineup was hitless against Cole and this Pittsburgh bullpen while Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, Jonathan Herrera and Miguel Montero accounted for all of Chicago’s seven hits.

Montero led the pack with three, Fowler two and both Rizzo and Herrera had a hit apiece. The upside to this loss is that the Cubs will finish the month of April with a winning record for the first time since 2008, but they’ll need to pick things up again this weekend in another division battle with the Milwaukee Brewers.

What’s Next: 

While NFL prospects who entered the draft wait for that one call that will change their entire lives, Jon Lester will be looking to pick up his first win as a member of the Chicago Cubs against Wily Peralta and the Brewers Friday afternoon.

Lester (0-2, 6.23 ERA) appeared to be in better shape in his outing against the Cincinnati Reds just five days ago. In that outing on the road, Lester worked six innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits with one walk and a season-high 10 strikeouts. He’s definitely due for his best outing of the young season.

Peralta (0-3, 5.04 ERA) like Lester, is looking to record his first win of the season with this struggling Brewers (5-17) team who sit at the bottom of the N.L. Central. After giving up two home runs and six earned runs against the Reds on Apr. 20, Peralta took the loss against the first-place St. Louis Cardinals just four days ago.

He gave up only two earned runs on seven hits on the day Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright suffered his season-ending injury.

First pitch for Friday afternoon’s contest is scheduled for 1:20 pm central time and will be aired live on both CSN and WBBM 780.

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