Monday night’s series opener between the Pirates and Cubs at Wrigley Field, was all about pitching through the early stages of the ball game. Pirates starter Trevor Williams, coming off his best outing of the season, was quietly working on another good outing until the fifth inning. Back to back hits against him to start the second inning got the Cubs on the board, with a lead off double Anthony Rizzo followed by an RBI single to center field by Ian Happ. The game would remain a 1-0 score until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Anthony Rizzo came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out for his third plate appearance of the ball game. Rizzo hit a 2-2 slider from Williams, deep to center field for what looked like extra bases and a game breaking hit. McCutchen silenced the crowd with a leaping catch in front of the ivy in straightaway center field, as a run scored on the sacrifice fly. Trevor would strike out Happ to end the bottom of the fifth inning, ending his night with two runs allowed on six hits, three walks and four strike outs.
On the other side of things, Cubs starter Mike Montgomery had a much easier night as he breezed through seven scoreless innings with only five singles allowed. He would eventually get pulled from the ball game in the top of the eighth inning, after allowing a lead off home run to Jordy Mercer. This got the Pirates on the scoreboard, but on a quiet night for their offense, they would ultimately fall short. Montgomery finished his night with seven plus innings pitched, six hits allowed, one earned run, no walks and four strike outs.
The Cubs added on against the Pirates bullpen in the bottom of the seventh inning, after Steven Brault intentionally walked Ian Happ to load the bases with two outs for Alex Avila. The at bat would result in a ground ball hit to second basemen Sean Rodriguez, that was ultimately ruled an infield single. What followed next, is best described as an errant throw party. The final results were the bases cleared for the Cubs, Avila at second with two outs and the score suddenly five to nothing. After the Mercer home run in the top of the eighth, the Cubs added on against Pirates rookie Angel Sanchez, when Albert Almora hit a 1-2 fastball to the wall in center field for an RBI double that brought in Ben Zobrist from first base. This would conclude the scoring on the night for the Cubs, and that was all they would need to earn the victory in the series opener.
The loss dropped the Pirates to 63-69 on the season, while the win improved the Cubs to 70-60 on the season. Tune in tomorrow night at 8:05 eastern time, as Chad Kuhl takes the mound to face Jake Arrieta and the Cubs in game two of this three game series at Wrigley field.