Rapid Reaction: Pirates 4, Cubs 3 (F/16)

April, 3, 2014
4/03/14
12:29
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Cubs lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Wednesday night as Jose Veras blew his first save and Carlos Villanueva suffered the loss for the second straight extra-inning game, this one going 16.

How it happened: Tony Sanchez brought home the winning run off Villanueva with a single in the bottom of the 16th inning. Anthony Rizzo went deep on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the 12th, but Veras gave up one in the bottom of the inning. Luis Valbuena knocked home Junior Lake with a two-out single in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. The Cubs’ first run of the season came on a replay challenge, when it was determined that shortstop Jordy Mercer never touched second base on a double-play attempt with the bases loaded in the eighth. The Pirates scored on a second-inning hit by Mercer and after Starlin Castro allowed a ball to get by him for an error in the sixth. Castro was 0-6 leaving eight men on base before being double-switched out of the game in 11th. The Cubs scored in the eighth, ninth and 12th innings before losing.

What it means: Veras picked up where he left off in spring training, with the Cubs never expressing any concern over his struggles. Valbuena and Rizzo bailed out an offense that had been struggling through the first two games. The Cubs went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. They’re now 1-for-27 on the season in that category. It’s why the Pirates won with just seven hits compared to the Cubs’ 15. The game was the longest in Pittsburgh history.

Bonifacio in the books: Emilio Bonifacio had five hits to become the first in history to register nine in the first two games of the season. He’s 9-for-12 this year.

Replay challenges: There were several, including a 4-minute, 40-second delay while looking at whether a pitch to Starling Marte hit him or the bat. It was initially ruled a foul ball and upheld, but the delays -- including one in the 13th inning -- added to the length of the already-extended game. However, the Cubs’ first run of the season came on a reversal, so they aren’t complaining.

Bean balls: There were five batters hit by a pitch, including Rizzo, twice. Marte was beaned leading off the game. In the bottom of the first came Rizzo’s first of two. Both benches were issued warnings, though Rizzo was hit again in the eighth without an ejection ... or any fisticuffs. There were two more Pirates hit after that.

Arrieta to Double-A: Pitcher Jake Arrieta will start a rehab assignment with Double-A Tennessee this weekend. He’ll pitch Saturday at Pensacola and, if all goes well, will make a couple more starts in the minors before rejoining the Cubs. He’s recovering from offseason shoulder stiffness.

Kalish starts: Left fielder Ryan Kalish started and played in his first game since 2012 -- on the same day his brother Jake pitched for the first time at George Mason University since undergoing Tommy John surgery. The elder Kalish had shoulder and neck issues the past few years that kept him out of game action; his brother hadn’t pitched in 14 months. Jake went five innings, giving up just a hit in a 2-1 win over Cornell, while Ryan went 0-for-2.

What’s next: The Cubs and Pirates conclude their three-game series with an 11:35 a.m. CT start on Thursday, as Jason Hammel makes his Cubs debut against lefty Wandy Rodriguez.

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

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167