It seemed like everything was going the Cubs’ way last night as they cruised to the win in Pittsburgh. Jason Hammel continued his solid start to the season by shutting down the Pirates, with the exception of two RBIs by Andrew McCutchen. Jason went five complete innings allowing two runs on five hits and one walk, while striking out three batters.
Cubs beat the Pirates 7-2 (Box Score).
The Cubs managed to get the lead-off runner on-base in each of the first four innings. And once the Cubs lead-off runners got on base they continued to exert pressure. Each one of those four lead-off runners ended up stealing second base, Matt Szczur got there on a wild throw by Gerritt Cole.
In the third inning, the Cubs’ pressure finally paid off as Anthony Rizzo bounced a ball off the center field wall scoring Fowler. Rizzo was driven in by a Zobrist single and the Cubs were on their way to victory up 2-1.
The Cubs put the game out of reach in the fifth inning when, after a sacrifice fly by Zobrist scored Bryant, Cole loaded the bases and got pulled by manager Clint Hurdle. David Ross promptly singled to score Rizzo and Russell.
Matt Szczur then stole home on a double steal that started out by Ross taking off for second base and getting caught in a run-down. As Szczur ran home, second baseman Josh Harrison threw the ball well over the head of Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli’s head allowing Szczur to score. You can watch the play here.
A little more pressure
Things got a little tense in the seventh inning when Ben Zobrist was seemingly hit intentionally by Pirates relief pitcher Kyle Lobstein. The umpire immediately issued a warning to both teams and Joe Maddon was visibly upset and started shouting from the top step of the Cubs’ dugout.
Things simmered down and play went on. When asked about it after the game Maddon said he just needed to vent a little bit because “the worst thing you can possibly do for your health, long-term, is to hold that stuff in.” Classic Joe. Here’s video of his postgame interview.
The Cubs and Pirates are back at it again tonight, this time Jake Arrieta will lead the way for the Cubs. Game time is 6:05 CDT.