Thursday, April 3, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 3, Pirates 2
By Jesse Rogers
PITTSBURGH -- Rick Renteria earned his first victory as a major league manager when the Chicago Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Thursday. Here's a quick recap:
How it happened: Starting pitcher Jason Hammel was brilliant in his Cubs debut while the offense got just enough early runs to get him and the team victory No. 1 of the season. Anthony Rizzo drove home Emilio Bonifacio in the first inning after Bonifacio singled and stole second base then Mike Olt hit his first big-league home run in the second inning followed by a double play ball by Justin Ruggiano to plate Bonifacio in the third. It stayed that way until Hammel came out in the seventh after a two-out walk. James Russell and Justin Grimm allowed two runners to score but the Cubs shut the door the rest of the way. Pedro Strop earned the save.
What it means: Hammel saved a tired bullpen while mowing down Pirates en route to a 6 2/3 innings pitched, two-hit performance. He mixed up his pitches and allowed his defense to play behind him as he gave up several long fly outs but few balls were hit very hard off of him. Olt showed off his power going out to straightaway right field.
Bonifacio: The Cubs newcomer added two more hits on Thursday to become the third player (Cecil Cooper, Ira Flagstead) in history to record 11 hits in his first three games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Pitching rotation: Renteria still isn't sure what to do about Sunday's starter as Carlos Villanueva has already pitched two games in relief this week due to extra-inning contests. He was scheduled to pitch against the Phillies but Renteria said he'll discuss it with pitching coach Chris Bosio and Villanueva.
What's next: The Cubs begin their 100th season at Wrigley Field on Friday when they take on Ryne Sandberg's Philadelphia Phillies at 1:20 pm. All-Star Travis Wood takes on Roberto Hernandez in the series opener.