Cutch opened the fourth with a 10 pitch battle he won, doubling off a slider. Gregory followed with a knock to put runners at the corners. El Coffee swiped second. Marte struck out; he fished for a pair of balls well off the dish. Fran picked him up, singling on the next pitch to plate the pair and going to second on the throw home. Jake then tossed a wild pitch and the next drilled JHK in the middle of the back. Then the rally fizzled; Josh banged a curve back to the hill for a twin killing; a pitcher's hop and Jake's spear saved it from going up the middle.
|Cutxch ran his hitting streak to eight games (photo Shelley Lipton/Pirates)|
The Cubs started with a bang-bang infield knock by Jason Heyward. That was followed by a walk, with Bryant getting the benefit on a couple of borderline pitches. The Anthony Rizzo happened; Locke hung a change up and wind or not, it ended up in the seats. A dink, a walk and a blast, followed by another walk. Bad inning for sure; Uncle Ray was tossed from the game during a mound visit; apparently he wasn't very happy with Brian Knight strike zone either. Two outs later, Josh booted a grounder, but Chicago was done cashing in.
With one away in the fifth, Locke drew a four pitch walk. No help, both Cutch and Jaso looked at third strikes. The Cubs went quietly, with just a Heyward knock. The Bucs went down without a peep (and two whiffs) while Chicago put it away in the sixth. Ben Zobrist had a knock and came in ahead of Addison Russell, who homered. A HBP (not a payback, but a jersey-brusher) brought a warning and a shower for Locke. Jared Hughes gave up a walk (to Arrieta), then a bloop single to bring in another score. The Pirates went down like lambs in the seventh; AJ Shugel gave up - what else - a walk and then a passed ball, but escaped unscathed.
Arrieta had a rockin' chair eighth with two more K's. Not so AJ; he gave up three consecutive one-out singles for a run, somewhat alleviated by Marte tossing out a runner at second. It was temporary relief; another single brought home another tally to make it 8-2. Justin Grimm came on to lay this baby to rest.
A stretch of bad luck, from Josh's hop that found leather, a gnat's eyelash infield hit and an iffy walk opened the gates, and good teams take advantage of the breaks. But make no mistake, Pittsburgh isn't the victim of voodoo. Pirate pitching is leaking walks and homers, and the batters aren't stringing together enough tough, disciplined at bats. Chicago is not the team that daily double will work against. Let's hope Cole Train dig deep tomorrow.
- Cutch kept his eight game hitting streak alive.
- The top four in the Pirate order - JJ, Cutch, Gregory & Starling - struck out 11 times in 16 at bats.
- Jeff Locke made his 100th appearance and 98th start for the Pirates today.
- Today was Arrieta's first double-digit K game of the year. He had 11 whiffs, and six were looking, all at balls clearly in the zone.