Cubs pitching staff has tough night against Pirates hitters
The Cubs’ offense showed the ability to have a big inning.
Unfortunately for them, though, their deficit proved to be insurmountable.
The Cubs chipped after trailing by 7 runs, but ultimately dropped the second game of the series against Pittsburgh, 13-7 Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs still hold the last Wild Card spot, holding a half-game lead over Miami.
It was the first time the Cubs had lost a game after scoring 7 or more runs this season.
The Cubs raced out to a quick lead with a Seiya Suzuki RBI-single in the 2nd inning. It seemingly put the Cubs in an ideal position — an early lead for their ace Justin Steele. Steele was terrific through his first 3 innings of work, permitting just 2 hits and striking out 6.
But the wheels started to fall apart in the 4th.
The Pirates hit 6 straight singles off Steele — none hit harder than 93 mph — forcing the lefty out of the game with a pair of runners on and behind 4-1 on the scoreboard. It would only become more difficult from there. Two batters after entering the game, José Cuas allowed a 3-run home run, breaking open the game for Pittsburgh.
“It just kinda seemed like whether they hit it hard or not, they put it in play, it was gonna find some grass and be a hit. It was just one of them nights,” Steele said. “Just kinda have to tip your cap to them. The balls they put in play were able to be hits. You just kinda have to move on from it.”
It saddled Steele to his second shortest outing of the season, allowing 6 runs on 8 hits in 3+ innings.
Pittsburgh added another run on a Jared Triolo solo home run in the top of the 5th.
The Cubs showed some life in the 5th, Christopher Morel led the frame with a solo home run and then Ian Happ hit a grand slam to cut the deficit to 2 runs. Cody Bellinger followed with a double, bringing the tying run to the plate, but they were unable to tack on in the frame.
“We got really close,” Happ said. “I think it’s good energy in the stadium. Obviously dugout was excited. A lot of good swings, having good at-bats. We were close right there — Cody at second base. Weren’t able to get him in, but up 7 runs today, offense had some really good at-bats and some hard hit balls didn’t get down, but another good performance back to back.”
The Pirates quickly responded in the 6th with 3 runs off Mark Leiter Jr.
The Cubs offense was able to put runners on base throughout the night — they had someone on the basepaths in every inning except the 1st and 4th — but ultimately the Pirates’ offense success against their pitching was too much. Pittsburgh had 15 hits and 3 home runs Wednesday night.
Every Cubs reliever that pitched in the game except Brad Boxberger (a scoreless 7th inning) and Luke Little (who picked up the final out in the 9th) allowed at least 1 run.