Rapid Reaction: Pirates 4, Cubs 0
June, 12, 2014
By Jesse Rogers
PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Cubs lost 4-0 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night. Here’s a quick look at the game:
How it happened: Andrew McCutchen did the Cubs in again. He was in the middle of two rallies that helped win the game for the home team. He doubled in the fourth inning and came home to score the game’s first run on a Russell Martin hit. Then in the fifth, he doubled home two more runs before being tagged out as he slid past third base. Jordy Mercer added a sacrifice fly to close out the scoring for the Pirates. The Cubs had some chances against starter Edinson Volquez but went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position. Back-to-back strikeouts by Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo killed a rally in the third inning, then Lake struck out again in the fifth with two more on. Luis Valbuena continued a hot stretch in collecting two more hits, but Jeff Samardzija wasn’t very sharp in giving up nine hits over more than six innings.
Rain delays: The game was delayed 21 minutes before first pitch, then again in the seventh for an hour and 14 minutes. Both starting pitchers already were out of the game before the second delay began.
What it means: The Pirates took down the Cubs’ top two starters, Jason Hammel and Samardzija, combining for 20 hits against them over the past two nights. That might not bode well for their trade value if it keeps up. Most of the damage all week came from McCutchen’s bat. He was 8-for-14 with three home runs and nine RBIs in the series. Valbuena was just as hot but without the power, going 8-for-13 and bringing his batting average to .293 on the season.
Bonifacio leaves: Emilio Bonifacio led off the game but never left the batter’s box, as he went down in pain after hitting a ground ball to the shortstop. The Cubs said it was a rib cage injury and that he’ll be re-evaluated. Outfielder Ryan Sweeney was pulled from the lienup for Class A Kane County, where he was rehabbing a hamstring injury as he prepared to come off the disabled list. He could join the team in Philadelphia if Bonifacio has to miss time, which appears likely.
What’s next: The Cubs open a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night at 6:05 CT, when Jake Arrieta (1-1, 2.50) faces Roberto Hernandez (2-4, 4.35).