Calling the first four innings of Friday’s game messy is an understatement. But, despite the rocky start, the Chicago Cubs emerged with a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates combined for six errors in the series opener, but Kris Bryant put the team on his back, going 4-for-5 with three runs and a pair of long-balls to save the day.
Bryant, who missed out on a third-straight All-Star Game appearance earlier this week, put together his best offensive performance of the year, erasing any memory of how the game started. It seemed like both starters faced tense situations every single inning to start the day.
But in a game of chicken, Eddie Butler prevailed. He worked around four hits and three walks in his four innings’ work before turning things over to the Chicago bullpen. Carl Edwards Jr., Pedro Strop, Koji Uehara and Wade Davis dominated from there to seal the victory.
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Chicago (43-43) got it rolling in the bottom of the fourth when Bryant tripled down the left-field line, scoring leadoff man Ben Zobrist all the way from first. Anthony Rizzo then battled a two-strike count, launching a two-run shot into the seats – his 20th homer of the season.
In the bottom of the sixth, with the Cubs leading 3-0, Bryant hit his first homer of the day. This one came off reliever Jhan Martinez – a solo shot to the seats in left-center.
Pittsburgh (40-47) got its only run in the seventh on a Josh Bell RBI single. But Bryant got that – and then some – back with his second dinger of the day in the bottom of the eighth off Antonio Bastardo.
The Bash Brothers
Rizzo now has 20 home runs on the season. His career-high, 32, which he hit in both 2016 and 2014, seems to be very much in-reach as we near the All-Star Break. His counterpart, who’s been due for a hot spell for some time, is right behind him.
KB hit homers 17 and 18 on the season Friday and these two will no-doubt have some friendly competition going in the second half as the Cubs battle for the Central.
Chicago and Pittsburgh continue their weekend series Saturday night at Wrigley.