PITTSBURGH – The Cubs got out their frustrations Friday in a 12-2 series-opening victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
HOW IT HAPPENED: With the drubbing from the Nationals in their rear-view mirror, the Cubs delivered a thrashing of their own. Travis Wood gave up just one hit over six innings, while the offense was helped by seven Pirates errors. The Cubs did do their part with the bats delivering 12 hits. Brett Jackson had one of the best catches of the season when he crashed into the center field fence to haul in a drive from Andrew McCutchen.
WHAT IT MEANS: Did Jackson sacrifice his body out of guilt? Heading into the sixth inning, the Pirates only had one hit, but that came on a drive from Pedro Alvarez that Jackson couldn’t haul in at the center field wall. Jackson looked determined to not let that happen again when he slammed into the chain-link fence in front of the Cubs dugout. He left the game but was only diagnosed with a bruised right knee.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: Two Cubs players marked milestones in Friday’s game. With a third-inning single, Starlin Castro became the 28th player in major league history to collect 500 hits before his 23rd birthday. And with his 89th RBI of the season, Alfonso Soriano set a single-season high with the Cubs. His all-time high is 104 with the Texas Rangers in 2005.
OFF BEAT: After getting beat up in Washington, the Cubs were only happy to be showered with gifts Friday. The Pirates not only made seven errors, they could have had an eighth on a two-run double by Castro in the seventh inning when the ball was kicked around in the outfield. Instead, the scorekeeper ruled that the second run would have scored anyway. It was the most errors for the Pirates since 1985.
UP NEXT: The Cubs will send right-hander Jeff Samardzija (8-13, 3.91 ERA) to the mound Saturday at Pittsburgh in the middle game of the three-game series. It will be Samardzija’s last appearance of the season. The Pirates will counter with right-hander James McDonald (12-7, 3.90) in the 6:05 p.m. CST start from PNC Park.