Having a full day of rest on the road on Monday couldn’t save the Chicago Cubs (31-18) from dropping another extra-inning game on Tuesday. They managed to push this one into the 12th inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-29) before 3-2 on a very odd play, via MLB The Show 20.
The pitching matchup featured José Quintana versus former Cubs prospect Chris Archer, with the former continuing his excellent stretch. He went six innings with just two runs allowed, just one earned, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out five batters.
Both of those runs came in the 1st inning. Cole Tucker singled to left field, then Adam Frazier reached when his grounder to Anthony Rizzo was bobbled. Instead of turning a double play, there were now runners on first and second with nobody out. Bryan Reynolds followed with a sharp double to right-center, bringing both runners around to score for a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs scratched out their first run in the 4th against Archer. Rizzo started the inning with a single and moved to second on a base hit by Kyle Schwarber. With two outs, Ian Happ lifted one in the air to center field that dropped safely in the grass before Reynolds could get to it, scoring Rizzo.
Archer started the 7th inning by walking Happ on four straight bad pitches and that would be the end of his day. Pittsburgh went to left-hander Robbie Erlin, who ultimately loaded the bases with two outs. Rizzo then worked a 3-2 count in an impressive nine-pitch at-bat, the final offering in which was a changeup that just missed the outside of the plate to force in the tying run.
Happ scoring on the play closed the book on Archer, who went six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits and just one walk, striking out five. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the Pirates bullpen stood tall on Tuesday. They combined to throw six shutout innings, giving up just three hits to go with four walks and six strikeouts.
The game remained tied into the bottom of the 12th, with Rowan Wick on the mound for the Cubs. He was able to get the first two outs of the inning rather quickly, but he still needed to retire Tucker. The light-hitting shortstop went into the at-bat without a home run yet in 2020, but was 3-for-5 with a double to that point in the game. Wick came with a fastball that Tucker drilled into the gap in left-center, sending both Schwarber and Happ chasing after it.
Tucker burned around the bases as Happ gave way to Schwarber, who misjudged an odd bounce off the wall near the bullpen. By the time Schwarber retrieved the ball, Tucker was heading toward third base. Schwarber, now standing on the warning track, heaved the ball back toward the infield while the runner rounded third and sped toward home.
Javy Báez received the ball and turned to fire home, but the throw was off line. Tucker scored on an inside-the-park homer, sending Pirates fans home happy with a 3-2 extra-innings win.
Notes: After the game, the Cubs were dealt the injury to add to the insult of losing on a walk-off, inside-the-park home run. David Ross revealed that Báez had suffered a mild hamstring strain on the final play of the game. The injury is not expected to keep him out too long, but he is going to the 10-day IL. Infielder Robel Garcia will be recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take his place … The Cubs were well represented among the 22,935 fans in attendance at PNC Park, as at least half the fans in the stands were wearing blue and red.
Happ – 1-for-3, 2 BB, R, RBI
Bryant – 2-for-5, BB, 2B
Hoerner – 2-for-5, SB
Quintana – 6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 5 K
Tucker – 4-for-6, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI
Reynolds – 1-for-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI
Winning Pitcher – Kela (2-1)
Losing Pitcher – Wick (2-2)
Save – None
Home Runs – Tucker (1)