Chicago Cubs: Magic number remains at five as Cubs lose, Brewers win

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs offense managed just one run in a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates as the Milwaukee Brewers rallied late to top the St. Louis Cardinals.

Well, that’s not the foot you’d hoped the Chicago Cubs would get off on to open the final homestand of the regular season. After the offense hung crooked numbers on both Saturday and Sunday, the bats went quiet in the opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday evening.

The lone tally? Well, that came via a Cole Hamels solo home run to dead center off Jameson Taillon in the bottom of the third. Pittsburgh scored twice in the first off the Chicago left-hander and never looked back, adding insurance runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth, as well.

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Taillon was again masterful for the Bucs, turning in seven frames of one-run ball. Hamels held his own, allowing three runs, two earned, over six innings – but with a nonexistent offense, there was little that could be done.

Chicago (91-65) scattered seven hits in the losing effort, going 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Pablo Reyes and Francisco Cervelli, though, singlehandedly thwarted the Cubs’ efforts to push their magic number to clinch the Central down to four.

Trailing 4-3 heading into the seventh in St. Louis, the Brewers scored in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, pulling within 1 1/2 games of the Cubs in the division.

The inconsistencies of the offense are nothing new. Really, they’ve epitomized the Cubs’ entire season. The bats are perfectly capable of blowing away opponents. But, they’ve also been stricken with slumps that leave you scratching your head. All you can do after Monday is tip your cap to Taillon and get back after it on Tuesday at Wrigley.

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What’s Next

Chicago continues its series against the Pirates on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. Left-hander Mike Montgomery (5-5, 3.75) squares off against Chris Archer (5-8, 4.49) at 7:05 p.m. CT.