Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cole, Kang Tag Team Cubs 2-1

Jon Lester had a an easy first frame, working around a two-out walk by catching a generous third strike call against Marte. Ugly start for the Bucs; Jordy lost a pop behind second; Josh didn't appear to pick it up either, and it dropped between them for a double. But Cole stood tall, getting a pair of easy outs and surviving Anthony Rizzo's drive that Cutch hauled in just short of the track.

The Pirates stranded a lead off walk in the second, and had two more guys go down looking. Chi-town managed an infield knock. It was 1-2-3 for both sides in the third. In the fourth, the Bucs went down in order; Chicago stranded a two out double. Pittsburgh remained hitless through five while the Cole Train kept chuggin'. Lester sandwiched Jordy's routine fly around a pair of whiffs in the sixth. Gerrit kept on keepin' on; his slider and overall location are money on so far.

Gerrit Cole rolled today (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

With one gone in the seventh, Starling slapped one through the right side for the Bucs first knock and then stole second. Lester got a K, but then left a heater up to JHK, who spanked it into the RC gap to make it 1-0. That brought in Adam Warren. He lost Josh, then fell behind pinch hitter Gregory Polanco and intentionally walked him. That brought up Cole, but there's only so much one man can do; he bounced out to short. He did his thing on the hill, pushing his streak of consecutive Cubbies retired to 10.

Jordy greeted Pedro Strop with a leadoff single in the eighth, but died at second. Cole breezed through his half. Hector Rondon came in for the ninth.

After an out, JHK cranked a 3-2 fastball, inside corner and under the letters, into the first row in LC; he caught a break as the wind, which had been blowing in, had died over the last three frames. A bloop and walk followed. Matt Joyce hit for Cole Train, and lefty Travis Wood took the ball for the Cubs. Joyce's roller hit the bag and hopped into Rizzo's glove; a little kick one way or the other would have scored Josh as the runners were off. Justin Grimm then was called to face Jordy.

Jung Ho Kang hasn't missed a beat (photo Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press)

He walked him to get to Cutch, who fouled off two heaters and chased, per the plate umpire, a spinner; it was a close one. Mark Melancon grabbed the ball and of course walked the first batter. That really hurt when a soft, broken bat liner dropped into short right, a ball that's caught if the runner isn't being held. A couple of outs later, a sac fly made it 2-1. Ben Zobrist fought to a full count with Jason Heyward on second after a swiped sack. On the ninth pitch of the at bat, he banged a one hopper to short right, where Josh was stationed thx to the shift, and *whew* it was over.

Good to get that Cub monkey off their backs. You beat Chicago with pitching, and they got it today; Cole was in beast mode. Lester was much sharper today, too, changing speeds and pitches to keep the Buccos off balance all afternoon. Nice to come home with a win and Atlanta on deck.

  • There were only nine hits total in the game. JHK was the only player with a pair, both for extra bases.
  • Starling's twelfth stolen base leads the NL.
  • Cole Train became the first opposing pitcher to go past the seventh inning against the Cub this season.
  • Cutch's hit streak ended at eight games. 
  • The Cubs used six pitchers to cover the last three innings.
  • The big news - uber prospect Alen Hansen will be called up tomorrow to replace Starling Marte. Marte isn't hurt, but is taking paternity leave.

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