Schwarber, Rizzo homer but Cubs come up short in finale against Bucs
The Chicago Cubs showed themselves to be a team that won’t give up, but the Pittsburgh Pirates were up to the challenge as well. After losing a four-run lead, the Pirates were able to get to the Cubs bullpen for three runs in the 7-5 win to split the rain-shortened two-game series.
Dan Haren‘s debut didn’t go as he might have hoped, but defensive miscues cost the Cubs (58-48) a run while he was on the mound. But two home runs, including a lead-off solo shot to Gregory Polanco and later a long solo shot to Andrew McCutchen looked to spell early trouble. But Haren battled through five innings allowing four runs, three earned.
The Pirates’ (62-44) Jeff Locke was cruising along until the sixth, allowing only a sacrifice fly to Anthony Rizzo till that point. But Kyle Schwarber‘s towering two-run home run cut the lead to 4-3, and Rizzo tied it shortly after with a solo blast to right for his 21st of the year.
The Buccos grabbed the lead right back in the bottom half of the sixth as Polanco’s single of Travis Wood (5-4, 4.58) drove in Francisco Cervelli to move put them back up 5-4. McCutchen’s sac fly would push the lead to 6-4, and they added another in the eighth to go up 7-4.
The Cubs put together a rally in the ninth, as Starlin Castro led off with a single. After a Chris Denorfia strikeout, Matt Szczur hit a pinch-hit double. Addison Russell followed with an RBI groundout before the rally fizzled. Antonio Bastardo (3-1, 3.82) picked up the win in relief for the Pirates as Mark Melancon picked up his 34th save of the season.
After finishing the road trip 5-1, they return home to Chicago to face the San Francisco Giants for a four-game series, where the winner of the series will leave with the second Wild Card position lead. Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.13) will face the Giants’ Chris Heston (11-5, 3.74).