A day after picking up their 100th victory, the Chicago Cubs showed no signs of slowing down Tuesday evening. The Cubs picked up a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, even with several starters getting the night off.
Even though the Chicago Cubs realistically have nothing to play for until next week, they have managed to keep on winning. The team has already clinched the NL Central, home field advantage during the NL playoffs and won 100 games.
At this point, any other accomplishments would be the cherry on top to a brilliant Cubs’ 2016 regular season.
Despite putting a starting lineup out Tuesday minus Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Jason Heyward, the Cubs put together a solid team effort on their way to a 6-4 victory over the Pirates. The victory is the team’s 101st of the season, their most since winning 104 in 1910.
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John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) pitched five innings, giving up one run on just five hits. Tuesday’s start most likely is Lackey’s last until the postseason, although he could be available as a reliever this weekend.
Lackey lasted just five innings due to a high pitch count, throwing 93 pitches before exiting the game. Although he did give up one run, it came on a double play hit by Pirates’ catcher Francisco Cervelli. Other than trading that runs for two outs, Lackey was solid.
Despite pitching the same number of innings that Lackey did, Pirates’ starter Ryan Vogelsong was not as fortunate Tuesday night. The 39-year-old gave up four runs (all earned), walking five Cubs’ batters in the process. Of those five walks, two of them arguably played the largest role in deciding the game’s outcome.
After hitting Javier Báez during the second inning, Vogelsong (3-7, 5.00 ERA) walked two batters (Munenori Kawasaki and Dexter Fowler). With two outs, Chris Coghlan stepped up to the plate and hit a bases clearing triple. Coghlan’s hit missed clearing the wall for a grand slam by just a couple of feet.
The Cubs would go on to score three more times, albeit without hitting any home runs. Dexter Fowler hit an RBI double in the 4th inning, bringing in Kawasaki. After hitting a triple in the ninth inning, Albert Almora Jr. scored when outfielder Gregory Polanco dropped a fly ball.
Although Polanco lost the ball in the stadium lights, his error proved to be crucial to the game’s outcome. Had he caught the ball, the inning would have ended with the Cubs ahead 4-1. Instead, two more runs scored to give the Cubs a 6-1 lead entering the bottom of the ninth.
Cubs’ reliever Justin Grimm entered the ninth inning with a nice cushion but could not close the game out. Grimm gave up three runs, only getting one out before exiting. Luckily for the Cubs, though, right-hander Felix Peña came in and finished off a 6-4 win.
With the win, the Cubs improve to 14-3 against the Pirates this season. They will face off for the last time in 2016 on Wednesday night. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to start for the Cubs Jameson Taillon schedule to pitch for the Pirates. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05pm CT and can be seen on CSN or heard on 670 AM.