Rapid Reaction: Pirates 2, Cubs 1

September, 23, 2013
9/23/13
9:51
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive

CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday:

How it happened: Starling Marte hit a two-out home run off of Kevin Gregg in the ninth inning after the Cubs tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth. The Cubs trailed 1-0 until the eighth inning, when pinch hitter Donnie Murphy drove in Brian Bogusevic with a base hit to left. A Neil Walker home run in the first inning nearly held up as the Cubs' offense couldn’t help starter Jeff Samardzija, who went six innings. Charlie Morton was on his game as he gave up only three hits and one walk over seven innings while striking out five. He struck out the side in the fifth and had to work out of only one jam over the course of the night. The Cubs had the leadoff man on in innings 6-8 before finally pushing across their lone run in the eighth.

What it means: Samardzija had a rough start, with the second batter of the game going deep, and though he gave up five hits and four walks, he battled through six innings. That’s significant because many times this year he hasn’t kept his team within striking distance. In his second-to-last start of the year, that’s exactly what he did, and now Samardzija has a chance to finish his year strong on Sunday in the season finale. The Pirates clinched at least a tie for a wild-card berth pending the outcome of the St. Louis Cardinals/Washington Nationals game.

Outside the box: Cubs catcher Welington Castillo had arthroscopic right knee surgery on Monday and is expected to be fully healed for next season. Before the game, manager Dale Sveum expressed interest in seeing reliever Hector Rondon pitch in back-to-back games. He had a 1-2-3 eighth inning, which featured a fastball that reach 98 mph. The speed of his fastball was something Sveum was interested in seeing on his second straight day on the mound.

What’s next: Game 2 of the series takes place on Tuesday night when Chris Rusin opposes Gerrit Cole.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jake Arrieta
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.53 167 156
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167