In the top of the fourth, Cutch hammered a ball to center but the wind was blowing in again, and for the second straight game, he ended up with a ground rule double in the ivy.The Bucs couldn't cash him in. Kris Bryant doubled to open the Cub half, but he was stranded, too. He had a chance to plate after moving to third with one gone, but the Cubbies opted not to challenge Snider's arm on Starlin Castro's short fly to right Good thing, too - Travis' throw was a mile off line.
Fran opened the fifth with a single, and Pedro Alvarez followed suit. Jordy drilled a fat 1-0 fastball into the left field bleachers to break the tie and give the Pirates a 3-0 lead. Frankie and Starling (who had to make a u-turn back to first when Francisco decided to stay at second) both followed with knocks.
Jason Hammel was replaced by Justin Grimm. After striking out Lunchbox, Cutch walked to load the bases. That brought on a call for Trevor Cahill, who retired A-Ram on a fly (not much chance of Liriano tagging). The Kid struck out swinging to kill the frame, without getting a strike thrown to him. The Cubs managed a two-out walk and that was it.
|Frankie's been a beast with an extra day's rest (photo Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune)|
In the top of the eighth with Tommy Hunter on the mound, Fran singled with one out, moved to second on a passed ball, and came in on S-Rod's two-bagger. Jordy bounced to first as S-Rod was off on the pitch. Serpico kept on motoring around third, trying to steal another run, but was gunned down; give Anthony Rizzo credit for not napping on the play. Liriano's second hit put runners at the corners, but Starling whiffed to end the frame.
Frankie walked Addison Russell to open the Cub at-bats. A pair of strikeouts was followed by another free pass and Clint swapped Liriano (four hits, three walks, nine punchouts) for Antonio Bastardo, who retired Rizzo on a fly. Carl Edwards shut the Bucs down in the ninth and Joakim Soria did the same to the Cubbies as The Shark got a day off.
The Bucs got another fine outing today; both Frankie and Gerrit (as also true for the Cub pitchers) were aggressive with the lake winds blowing in and took full advantage. Jordy ended up the unlikely batting hero, and Pittsburgh now has a 5-1/2 game cushion on Chicago. It seemed like it was yesterday that the Cubs were looming large in the rear view mirror. AJ goes for the broom against Jake Arrieta tomorrow.
- Frankie joined Gerrit in the 200 K club today. They are the first pair of Pirate pitchers to hit the 200 whiff mark in the same season in franchise history.
- This was Jordy's first three RBI day of the season, and his first homer since early June, when he went long in back-to-back games against the Giants.
- Pittsburgh has won eight in a row, and all on the road for the first time since 1938. The Pirates' 95 wins are their most in a season since 1992.
- Awkward - the Cubs were on the field celebrating their playoff berth after the game. The price of backing in...