The story of this game was the pitching brilliance of Gerrit Cole. Cole got things off to a fast start in the first, with back to back strikeouts to finish a 1-2-3 first inning. On the other side for the Cubs, Kyle Hendricks did a great job as well. By pitching six scoreless innings, he was able to neutralize the seven inning gem turned in by Gerrit Cole. Defense was once again an issue for the Pirates, as they made their MLB leading 19th error of the season.
The Cubs only mounted two scoring threats against Cole, the first of which came in the top of the second inning. Addison Russell hit a one out double to right center field, and Jason Heyward followed that with a slow grounder to Pirates second basemen Alen Hanson. This is where the Pirates defensive issues came into play, as Alen Hanson threw the ball away at first base, allowing Addison Russell to score from second base. The Cubs only other scoring opportunity came in the top of the sixth inning, when Kris Bryant collected the Cubs second hit of the ball game with an infield single. During Anthony Rizzo‘s at-bat, Bryant stole second base. Rizzo grounded back to the mound to end that threat, with Cole only having three men reach base safely against him on the night.
The Pirates had a couple of at bats with runners in scoring position against Kyle Hendricks on the night, as they collected four hits and drew two base on balls against him in his six innings of work. They did not mount their best scoring threat of the night until Hendricks left the ball game though. A lead off double by John Jaso in the bottom of the seventh inning, had the Pirates in position to score a run against Koji Uehara. Mercer followed that with a deep fly ball to left field that moved John Jaso to third base. The Cubs brought the infield in against Alen Hanson, but it made no difference as he struck out chasing Uehara’s splitter. Cole was removed from the ball game one batter later when Osuna pinch hit, and the Pirates best scoring opportunity of the night was wasted when Albert Almora raced in to make the catch on Osuna’s soft liner to center field.
Cole’s masterful effort was wasted with a combination of poor offense and bad defense. The loss marked the first time the Pirates had lost a nine-inning ball game at home while allowing only two hits to the opposition, since 1985. The Pirates fell to 8-12 on the season while the Cubs improved to 12-8 on the season. Gerrit Cole’s final line of the night was the highlight of the game for the Pirates, as he pitched seven innings with two hits allowed, one run that was unearned, no walks and eight strikeouts. The Pirates have yet to win a game in a series played on a weekday, and they will look to break that early season trend in the final game of their three game series with the Cubs tomorrow night.