Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (7/14/19): Cubs 8, Pirates 3 – Cubs Plaster Pirates to Earn Sweep
The Cubs had a chance to earn their first sweep since the start of June after taking the first two games of their set with the Pirates. Despite falling into an early hole, the offense exploded and Chicago coasted to the win.
Anthony Rizzo and Victor Caratini singled to start the 2nd inning, but their first run didn’t come easy. After a Jason Heyward double play, Robel Garcia ripped a double into right to put Chicago ahead.
The Pirates got to José Quintana in the top of the 3rd inning. Starter Trevor Williams singled, as did Kevin Newman, then Bryan Reynolds made it three in a row and tied the score. A Starling Marte sacrifice fly and a Jung-Ho Kang double gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead.
Garcia doubled for a second time in the 4th and came home on a single from the light-hitting Quintana. The Cubs grabbed the lead in the 5th inning when Caratini hit a sac fly and Heyward mashed a two-run homer to right-center for a 5-3 edge.
Williams was running empty in the 6th inning and the home team made him pay for it. Pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr. homered, then Kyle Schwarber made it back-to-back. A Rizzo sac fly scored Javy Báez to increase the lead to 8-3.
Brandon Kintzler pitched the 7th inning cleanly thanks to a nifty double play by Garcia and Báez. Kyle Ryan handled the 8th and Tyler Chatwood finished the 9th to complete the sweep. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs pounded Williams Sunday, even after several hard hit-balls found gloves early on. As the game progressed, those began to clear the wall and the rout was on.
Quintana’s RBI single seemed to be a big moment in the game because the Pirates starter had been living dangerously the first couple innings. Getting a big knock from an unlikely source possibly unnerved Williams.
Stats That Matter
- Quintana had his third consecutive quality start: 6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 4 K, and 2 BB. Things could have gotten away from him after the 3rd, but he shut down the Pirates his final three innings.
- Garcia had two strikeouts in addition to the two doubles. You can get away with that if you hit for power when you make contact.
- Caratini hit the ball hard in every at-bat and has been excellent defensively. The Cubs might have the best catching tandem in baseball.
When the Cubs had an uneven first half in 2017, they came out of the gate with a three-game sweep of the Orioles and went on to a huge second half and a division title. Hopefully this sweep in 2019 will lead to a similar outcome.
The Cubs welcome the Reds for a three-game set starting Monday at 7:05pm CT. Kyle Hendricks takes on Luis Castillo in a game airing on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.