Tuesday night’s game two of the Pirates and Cubs four game series at PNC Park, was more rookie contributions to follow up the great game for young Pirates position players on Monday. The game was somewhat of a pitcher’s duel, with Stephen Brault on the mound making the start for Ivan Nova, who had his start skipped this time through the rotation. Brault did not miss many bats, even though he battled his way through five innings against a good lineup. Without registering a strikeout, it was a struggle for Brault to keep the Cubs off the board. After allowing a sacrifice fly to Ben Zobrist in the first, he was able to put up a zero in the second, fourth and fifth innings. A two-run single by Ian Happ with one out in the third inning, would put three on the board for the Cubs to give them the lead once again. They would hold this 3-2 advantage for most of the ball game, as Wade LeBlanc put together three scoreless innings in relief of Brault to give his team a chance at the win. Brault finished the day with five innings pitched, eight hits allowed, two walks and the zero in the strikeout column.
Even though Kyle Hendricks was able to contain Josh Bell, another rookie got to him in the bottom of the second inning. Following a one out single to right field off the bat of David Freese, rookie right fielder Jordan Luplow delivered the big blow of the game for the Pirates against Hendricks. Luplow pulled the 2-1 sinker middle away, out to left-center field to the deepest part of the ball park once again. This time he did not hit a wall scraper, as a 431 foot blast temporarily gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead in the ball game. This was all Hendricks would allow on the night, as he worked six and two-thirds quality innings, with the two earned runs allowed on five hits, no walks and two strikeouts. The pitcher who replaced Hendricks on the mound, would ultimately take the loss even after he stranded a runner for Hendricks to finish the bottom of the seventh inning. Carl Edwards Jr. would allow a lead off walk to John Jaso in the bottom of the 8th, followed by a Starling Marte single that put runners at the corners with none out to set the stage for another rookie hero. Max Moroff hit a soft line drive into left to deliver the tying run in the inning, and would score the go-ahead and winning run on the second single by David Freese on the night.
Felipe Rivero was dynamite for the Pirates in the top of the ninth inning, as he struck out the first two batters and induced a ground ball to third base to end the inning that earned him his 18th save of the season. The win improved the Pirates to 67-72 on the season, while the loss dropped the Cubs to 75-63 on the season. Tune in tomorrow night as the Pirates look to take game three of this four game series, as they send Gerrit Cole to the mound to take on Jose Quintana and his Cubs teammates.