The Pirates and Cubs traded big innings, but the Pirates had a slightly bigger one and ended up on the long end with an 8-6 win. Colin Moran and Bryan Reynolds had big days, and the bullpen got scoreless innings from five different relievers.
Moran started the scoring in the bottom of the first with a home run into the Cubs’ bullpen. It came following a single by Kevin Newman and a double by Reynolds. The dinger was Moran’s tenth, making him just the third Pirate to reach double figures, one being the departed Gregory Polanco, who had only 11. By contrast, the Brewers have had seven hitters reach double figures, the Cards and Reds eight each, and the Cubs nine.
Mitch Keller started for the Pirates and wasn’t able to get enough line drives aimed at fielders. The Cubs pummeled him for nine hits over four-plus innings. Five of those hits came in the third, when Chicago put up a three-spot to tie the game.
Keller failed to get anybody out in the fifth. A walk, two singles and a double started the inning, bringing in two runs before Derek Shelton belatedly sent for Anthony Banda. A sacrifice fly made the score 6-3.
Enyel De Los Santos set the Cubs down in the top of the sixth, then the Pirates came back to take the lead. After they loaded the bases with nobody out, Ben Gamel drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. With two out, Hoy Park lined a triple into the gap in right-center that rolled for so long that Jacob Stallings scored from first. That tied the game, then the newly returned Michael Chavis lined a pinch-hit single to put the Bucs up, 7-6.
The Pirates added an insurance run in the seventh when Moran singled to drive in Reynolds. Moran finished 2-for-2 with two walks and four RBIs. Reynolds had three hits and scored three times.
The bullpen avoided any major problems. Chasen Shreve fanned three in the top of the seventh. David Bednar gave up a pair of two-out walks in the eighth, but escaped on a line out. Chris Stratton pitched the ninth for his seventh save. De Los Santos got the win.
The win didn’t help the Pirates’ pursuit of Texas for the third pick in the 2022 draft, but they didn’t “lose” any ground as the Rangers won. Anyway, no draft position is worth losing to the Cubs.