Chicago Cubs take series from Pirates behind Lackey and Contreras

Jun 18, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) hits a two run double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 18, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) hits a two run double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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For all the talk about the Chicago Cubs John Lackey, he did exactly what they needed him to do today. He pitched a solid six innings while batterymate Willson Contreras knocked in four to take the series from the Pirates.

The Chicago Cubs needed A) A solid start from John Lackey to preserve the bullpen. And B) A more consistent approach from the offense. Without Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber in the lineup, they were still able to do that in beating the Pittsburgh Pirates to take the series with a 7-1 win.

The Cubs (34-34) were able to put together a solid overall performance at the plate behind a superb day from Willson Contreras. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBIs to pace the Cubs, while the ninth spot in Jon Jay help set the table with a 3-for-4 and two runs scored. But it may have been the performance from Lackey that was the most surprising. Lackey (5-7, 4.98)  impressed through six innings, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out four.

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For the Pirates (31-38), they were hoping to get another good outing from Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.38), but the Cubs jumped on him early. Back-to-back doubles to open the games got things started, while the Cubs would go on to score in three of the first five innings. Taillon lasted five, allowing four runs on eight hits.

Anthony Rizzo continued his impressive run from the top of the order as he went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. The Cubs did, however, lose Jason Heyward as he left the game with an abrasion on his wrist that he suffered in the field. No further details on his timetable have been released.

The win once again puts the Cubs at .500 as they’ll return home for a brief series with the San Diego Padres. Jon Lester will take the mound against former Cubs Clayton Richard in tomorrow night’s series opener.