J.T. Brubaker did it all as the Pirates picked up their first consecutive wins of the season and their first series win. Brubaker pitched into the sixth and drove in three runs as the Bucs beat the Cubs and old friend Trevor Williams, 7-1.
The only damage off Brubaker came in the second, when Javier Baez went deep. The only times the Cubs got two on against him came when he plunked a couple batters. He didn’t walk anybody until a leadoff walk in the sixth. When a loud out followed, Derek Shelton went to Sam Howard, who fanned the next two hitters. Brubaker allowed just four hits and fanned four.
The Pirates took the lead quickly after Baez’ homer. In the bottom of the second, Dustin Fowler followed a pair of singles with a one-run double, although the Pirates had to win a challenge after an obviously incorrect out call on Fowler at second. Brubaker then lined a two-run single to right to make it 3-1.
The Bucs plugged away after that. Brubaker drove in his third run in the third on a force play with the bases loaded. Three straight singles to start the fourth, the last by Colin Moran, plated a fifth run. The last two came in on a pinch-hit home run by Wilmer Difo, his first dinger for the Pirates. So five of the seven RBIs came from the #9 spot.
The bullpen shut the Cubs down with just one hit and no walks over the last three and two-thirds innings. Howard got the first out and Chris Stratton the last two in the seventh, then Kyle Crick and David Bednar each threw an inning. The team’s pitchers walked only four batters in the three-game series.
The Pirates had 14 hits in the game, four by Bryan Reynolds. Phillip Evans and Jacob Stallings each had two. The Bucs also played errorless ball for the third straight game. On the down side, Gregory Polanco whiffed three more times while going 1-for-5.