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Cubs emphatically take care of business against Pirates

10 months agoTony Andracki

The Cubs just keep racking up the series victories.

Thanks to impressive performances from Javier Assad and Cody Bellinger, the Cubs finished off the Pirates Sunday afternoon with an emphatic 10-1 victory.

The Cubs are now 10-1-1 in their last 12 series dating back to mid-July.

Assad continues to excel in the Cubs’ rotation, throwing 7 innings of 1-run ball Sunday. He struck out 7 and allowed only 5 baserunners (3 hits, 2 walks).

He now boasts a 2.96 ERA on the season and the Cubs have won all 5 of his starts since he was inserted into the rotation earlier this month.

“He’s been unreal,” Bellinger said of Assad to Taylor McGregor after the game. “Consistent. Even out of the ‘pen before he was a starter, he was really good. Really intelligent. Really knows how to use his stuff and he’s been effective with it. It’s been really fun to watch.”

Bellinger provided the juice offensively with 5 RBI on the afternoon. He drove home a run in the 1st on a 2-out single. In the 5th, he had another 2-out hit — this time a double to score a pair of runs. In the 9th, Bellinger added more insurance with a 2-run double.

“If you’re just tuning in, Cody Bellinger is really good,” David Ross joked with reporters after the game.

Jeimer Candelario (homer, 3 RBI), Nico Hoerner (3 hits, 3 runs) and Seiya Suzuki (2 hits, 2 walks, 2 runs, RBI) followed Bellinger’s lead offensively.

Keegan Thompson emerged from the bullpen to relieve Assad and looked dominant, striking out 5 batters in 2 shutout innings.

It was Thompson’s first big-league outing since May 17. He was optioned to the minors following that May game in Houston and initially struggled with Triple-A Iowa before finding his groove in recent weeks.

“It was nice to get him back out there with not as much leverage,” Ross said of Thompson’s outing. “First time back in a little while. He’s built a lot of trust over his time here and all the things he worked on — to be able to go out and see that in a 2-inning stint. He was really clean and crisp, ahead of hitters. The breaking stuff looked really nice.”

The Cubs are now 9-1 against the Pirates this season. They’ll return home to Wrigley Field to host the Milwaukee Brewers for an all-important 3-game series.

First pitch is at 7 p.m. Monday night with coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on Marquee Sports Network. Jameson Taillon, Justin Steele and Kyle Hendricks will take the mound for the Cubs in that series.

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