Bryan Reynolds made a big return from paternal leave, bashing a double and a three-run home run as the Pirates beat the Cubs, 6-2. With the win, the Bucs salvaged one game out of their three-game series.
J.T. Brubaker had a difficult, but still encouraging, start and got his first major league win in the process. He had to deal with a lot of baserunners, as he allowed seven hits over five innings. Brubaker didn’t get hit all that hard, as the Cubs had just one extra base hit and several ground balls that went through.
Brubaker gave up a run in the second on a two-out grounder that rolled just past Adam Frazier at second. In the third, he gave up an unearned run. With second and third, and nobody out, Kris Bryant hit a one-hopper to third on which J.T. Riddle could have held the runners. Riddle, though, double-clutched and then Pedro’ed the throw to first for the Pirates’ world-leading 34th error of the year. (Erik Gonzalez contributed #35 later.)
Clint Derek Shelton started Riddle at third today because there needed to be somebody in the lineup hitting for a lower average than Gregory Polanco.
Undeterred by the confounding absence of Ke’Bryan Hayes, Brubaker got out of the third without any further damage, striking out Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez to end the inning. He survived three singles in the fourth because John Ryan Murphy threw Willson Contreras out stealing. (Murphy was 2-for-2 against base stealers.) Brubaker finished his day with three quick ground outs in the fifth. Despite the early scuffling, he managed to get by on 86 pitches.
The Cubs’ starter was journeyman Alec Mills. The Pirates wasted doubles by Colin Moran and Reynolds in the first two innings, but put up four runs in the third. Murphy led off with a double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Gonzalez. With two out and two on, Reynolds lined his third home run of the year into the seats in right. That put the Pirates up, 4-2.
Things got hairy in the sixth. The Cubs loaded the bases with one out against Sam Howard. He managed to fan Jason Kipnis, then gave way to Geoff Hartlieb. Shelton seems to have fastened onto Hartlieb for mid-inning jams and he got out of another one, getting Cameron Maybin on a fly ball. Hartlieb has now stranded 16 of 18 inherited runners.
The Pirates got some breathing room in the bottom of the sixth. With second and third, and two out, Cole Tucker blooped one to left that appeared to die of exhaustion about halfway out to Schwarber. That brought in both runs to make it 6-2.
The Pirates’ bullpen made the rest of the game relatively uneventful. Hartlieb had an easy seventh thanks to a double play. Nik Turley had an easy eighth thanks to another double play. Richard Rodriguez fanned three in the ninth, interrupted only by Gonzalez’ error. The Bucs are now 11-24.