The bottom of the 12th inning the Chicago Cubs had the bases loaded with Matt Szczur at the dish. With a 3-1 count Szczur had the green light and popped up a shallow fly ball to right field Gregory Polanco who caught his foot into the grass and fell with the ball landing right next to him to score Starlin Castro to win an 11-10 game.
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Both men had the opportunity to win the game in Szczur’s previous at-bat on nearly the same play, but Polanco was able to record the out cleanly and follow that up by throwing out Castro at home on an inning-ending double play.
Hector Rondon came into the ninth with a one-run lead and struck out the first two Pirates quickly, but then gave up a double to Josh Harrison to put the tying run on. A wild pitch by Rondon would move Harrison to third and Francisco Cervelli drove him in on a line drive single to tie the game at 10 apiece.
Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 5.15 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs (20-15) were cruising their way to a decisive victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates (17-19) until the Bucs went on a two-out rally to make a 7-1 game a lot more interesting.
The Pirates scored four runs in the sixth inning to close the six-run deficit to a 7-5 lead. The big hit of the inning was a bases loaded clearing double by Cervelli. The Cubs would answer back with RBI single by Jorge Soler to score Kris Bryant in the sixth, making the score 8-5.
The Pirates were not done scoring either. They put up another four spot in the eighth – a solo homer by Josh Harrison off Jason Motte and then a three-run homer by Andrew McCutchen off Pedro Strop to make it a one-run game by the score of 10-9.
The Cubs jumped on the board first with a three-run homer by Bryant to give the Cubs the 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Pittsburgh followed up in the top of the fourth with a Pedro Alvarez solo homer for their first run making it a 3-1 game.
Chicago would answer back in the bottom of the inning when Fowler hit a sac fly to score Hendricks to move the score to 4-1, then Rizzo then deposited a fly ball into the right-center field bleachers to extend their lead to 5-1.
The Pirates starter, Jeff Locke (2-2 , 5.40 ERA) had a rough day and was pulled after just 3 2/3 innings pitched, allowing six hits, five runs, three free passes, and four strikeouts.
Edwin Jackson came into the 12th to pitch for the Cubs and would be the pitcher on record to get the win. He is now 2-1 on the season with a 4.22 ERA. Pirates’ skipper Clint Hurdle was forced to use Radhames Liz, who pitched in three innings in their previous game, and would struggle in the 12th – with the loss he is now 1-3 on the year.
The win today give the Chicago Cubs their fifth consecutive win, a season high for this second-place team.
What Stood Out:
Before the rough sixth inning that ended the day for Hendricks, he was pitching a very good game. He finished the day with a line of 5 2/3 innings, five runs, eight hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts but is still yet to crack the win column.
Pedro Strop has struggled lately as the setup man for the Chicago Cubs – today giving up a three-run homer to that brought the Pirates within a run in the eighth with two outs in the inning.
Kris Bryant hitting his fourth homer of the season, finished the day at the plate going 1-for-4 with a homer, two runs, two walks, and four runs batted in.
Anthony Rizzo had himself another good day at the plate for the Cubs, going 3-for-7 with a homer, two runs, and two RBI.
What is Next:
Saturday afternoon is game two of the three-game weekend set between the Chicago Cubs (20-15) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (17-19). Jon Lester (3-2, 4.10 ERA) will look to continue his winning ways when he faces off against the Pirates’ ace, Gerrit Cole (5-1, 2.32 ERA).
Lester has continued his career trend with being a hot pitcher in the month of May. This year he is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in May for the Chicago Cubs after struggling in the month of April.
Cole’s last time against the Cubs was only 17 days ago where he pitched a six-inning shutout against the Cubs that lead to a 6-1 victory for the Bucs.
First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 CT at Wrigley Field.