Cubs Recap: Starling Marte’s sacrifice fly enough to take Game 1


9. 5. 4. Final. 4

Jason Hammel exits after 3 2/3 innings

Outfielder Starling Marte made a pinch-hit appearance during the bottom of the eighth inning and would come through with a sacrifice fly to left fielder Austin Jackson which would be enough to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Chicago Cubs.

Right-hander Jason Hammel struggled after receiving an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and started the bottom half by issuing a walk, hitting a batter then giving up a game-tying RBI single to Andrew McCutchen.

More from Chicago Cubs News

Hammel (8-6, 3.73 ERA) was tagged for four earned runs on five hits while issuing three walks and recording five strikeouts prior to Trevor Cahill taking over in the fourth.

Cahill worked two innings of relief and held the Pirates (87-56) to one hit and four strikeouts. The 27-year-old nearly had himself a hit in his first at-bat on a ball hit to right field, but Gregory Polanco managed to throw him out at first.

Pittsburgh’s ace, Gerrit Cole (16-8, 2.60 ERA) started off strong by holding the Cubs (82-61) to one unearned run before giving up back-to-back one-out singles to Miguel Montero and Starlin Castro.

Skipper Clint Hurdle pulled the All-Star right-hander after giving up an RBI double to pinch-hitter Tomy La Stella who entered the game for reliever Zac Rosscup.

More from Cubbies Crib

Hurdle turned to Joakim Soria with Addison Russell and the top of the lineup due for the Cubs.

Russell would lineout to shortstop Jody Mercer, leaving it up to Dexter Fowler. With Fowler batting, Soria threw his first wild pitch of the inning, allowing Castro to score from third, cutting the lead down to just one run.

Soria would walk Fowler on the next pitch with Kyle Schwarber due up next. Schwarber flew out to right field in his first two at-bats and had himself a great weekend in Philadelphia.

Before Schwarber struck out swinging, Soria was charged with his second wild pitch of the inning which pushed La Stella from third to lock things up at four-all.

With the score tied and Justin Grimm on the mound for the Cubs, Pedro Alvarez worked a six-pitch walk to leadoff the inning. Pinch-runner Pedro Florimon entered the game for ‘El Turro’ and soon attempted to steal second.

Montero tried to throw Florimon out at second with Castro covering the bag, but the ball bounced off his glove and went into center field. Florimon found himself on third with no outs and scored the go-ahead run.

Game 2 will feature a battle of lefties as Jon Lester goes head-to-head with J.A. Happ at 6:05 p.m. central time. Lester has the opportunity to end Chicago’s three-game skid.

Next: Cubs set for critical showdown in Pittsburgh