Monday, September 26, 2016

Cubs Maul Buccos 12-2

It wasn't a dark and stormy night, but it sure was a dreary evening when Chad Kuhl served the first pitch. He walked the first guy after being up 0-2 *sigh* An out later, Anthony Rizzo doubled to put Cubbies at second and third (Rizzo came into the game with a .450 BA and 1.488 OPS against the Bucs) and another walk loaded the sacks. A sac fly brought in a run and moved both runners up, but Chad then shut the gate. J-Bell singled off Kyle Hendricks for the only Bucco action. The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the second; they've also worked Cool Chad for 49 pitches. Kyle stymied the Bucs.

Matt Joyce went yard (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Kuhl buzzed Rizzo with two gone in the third; the Cub bench growled and Anthony, well, he just drilled another hit. A wild pitch moved him to second but a K ended the music. Chad singled with an out and JJ doubled him to third, but the Bucs couldn't cash them in with a comebacker and fly. Jason Heyward opened the fourth with a single - he hits .229 against the league and .370 v the Pirates. That was followed by a wild pitch, HBP and bunt single, cleaned up by a Javy Baez grand salami that barely made it into the seats on an 0-2 sinker. Hendricks singled; prob time to get the bullpen ready. Two more knocks juiced the sacks again; that's seven batters in a row who have reached safely. Zach Phillips took the ball and, go figure, struck out Rizzo. Then he coaxed a 6-4-3 DP; great job by the Zachster. The Bucs only answer was an infield knock by S-Rod.

Zach gave up a rap in an otherwise quiet fifth. The Pirates went down even more quietly. Steven Brault toiled in the sixth and the cows left the barn. After an out, he gave up a knock and then a blast to Kris Bryant on a 3-2 heater. Next he issued a bad-luck, full count walk on a pitch that looked a lot like strike three to everyone but the ump, followed by another single. A DP to JHK turned into another run when Jordy whiffed on Kang's decent throw. The Bucs did do something right, cutting down a run at the plate, but another came in on a bloop two-bagger to right on an 0-2 pitch. Two more touched on single before the bell rang. The Bucs put together three straight knocks with two outs to load the bases, but Fraze's liner kept the board at zero.

Freeser broke out of a homer slump in the 8th (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Brault came back out for the seventh, even after throwing 43 pitches last inning - guess they don't monitor his pitch count. He gave up a one-out walk and knock. A two out walk loaded them; a boot by JHK allowed another Cubbie tally to cross. After that (and 71 pitches) Phil Coke took over, getting a liner to end the parade. Pedro Strop came on, and we'll just fast forward. Subs covered the width and length of the field, Freeser and Matt Joyce hit back-to-back 400' homers of Hector Rondon and runners from both teams were left scattered over the bases. Aroldis Chapman closed with a 10 run lead, but not to rub it in - he was scheduled to work an inning tonight.

Add your own comment; nights like this happen in September when one team is looking towards the playoffs and the other towards 2017.

  • S-Rod and Jacob Stalling each had two hits. Cutch's hit streak ended at 13 games; he only got two at bats before the B-Team came in.
  • The Pirates are 77-79. Their magic number (for elimination) is two; they have to finish 4-2 against the Cubs and Cards to finish at .500.
  • Fran fanned in the second and entered the history books by becoming the 37,447th strikeout victim of the season in MLB, the most whiffs ever posted in an MLB season. This is the ninth consecutive year that the record for strikeouts has been set.
  • The Cubs batted around in the fourth and sixth innings. 
  • Chicago has won 100 games for the first time since 1935. Don't chuckle - the Bucs have only won 100+ games twice, in 1909 (110) and 1902 (103). They've won 98 three times - 2015, 1991, and 1979.
  • The crowd was 20,159.

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