The Pittsburgh Pirates had the opportunities to extend their road win streak to nine games, but they fell 8-7 to the Chicago Cubs in 13 innings.
It was a case of the Pirates running out of bullpen arms, and reliever Jeff Locke (9-8, 5.39 ERA) threw his highest pitch total since Aug. 3 as a result. Locke threw three innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. Eventually, Locke seemed to tire, and he didn’t record a single out in the 13th inning before Chicago’s Miguel Montero recorded the game-winning hit.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 30, 2016
With expected starter Gerrit Cole placed on the DL (posterior inflammation of the right elbow), Pittsburgh called up left-handed pitcher Steven Brault, who made a spot-start. Brault lasted all of four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits while throwing 92 pitches.
The Cubs’ Dexter Fowler led off the first inning with a single, and Kris Bryant reached on a force attempt where Brault committed a throwing error. Anthony Rizzo then grounded out, scoring Fowler. Two innings later, the Cubs extended their lead to 3-0 on a Jorge Soler RBI double and a Jason Heyward RBI ground out.
Most nights, three runs is plenty of run support for Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, but this wasn’t most nights.
Arrieta retired seven consecutive Pirates batters before Josh Bell came to bat with one out in the fourth inning. Batting from the left side of home plate, Bell hit an opposite field solo homer to left field. It was his second homer of the season. Coincidentally, both of Bell’s home runs have come off Cubs pitching; his other round-tripper came off Adam Warren on July 9.
The long ball served the Pirates well once again in the sixth inning.
Josh Harrison first recorded a one-out single. He then stole his career-high 19th base of the season just before Bell walked.
Two batters later, Gregory Polanco capitalized on an elevated first pitch sinker and hit it to the opposite field for his 21st home run of the season. It’s the ninth of his last 11 hits that has gone for extra bases.
— Pirates (@Pirates) August 30, 2016
In the seventh inning, already up 4-3, the Pirates extended their lead.
David Freese singled, and Arrieta got squeezed by home plate umpire Tripp Gibson, so Francisco Cervelli walked. Arrieta uttered a few choice words to Gibson but wasn’t ejected.
Shortly after, Arrieta was pulled for Travis Wood, and Harrison doubled in two runs.
A three-run lead with the backend of the Pirates bullpen coming in seemed like it’d be a sure thing, but this didn’t hold.
Felipe Rivero did his part, but Neftali Feliz allowed a two-run home run to Willson Contreras. Feliz then allowed a double to Javier Baez, who doubled and, after two strikeouts, advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Kris Bryant then walked, but Feliz dug in and ended his 29-pitch outing with a strikeout of Anthony Rizzo to keep the Pirates up by a run.
Tony Watson came in for the save but, instead, a one-out was hit for a home run by Jorge Soler, which energized the Wrigley Field crowd.
Locke pitched the bottom of the 10th inning and allowed a leadoff single to Baez, and Dexter Fowler added a one-out single to put the runners on the corners. This allowed Locke to intentionally walk Bryant. Rizzo then grounded out to Sean Rodriguez, who stepped on first base and fired a quick throw to Cervelli at home plate.
After the Pirates stranded Jordy Mercer at third base in the 11th inning, the Cubs looked like they were poised to win in the 12th frame.
Baez recorded a one-out triple, bringing up Addison Russell. Russell flew out to Starling Marte, who then threw out Baez at home plate. The play was reviewed in case Cervelli violated the home plate collision rule, but the call stood.
Cubs pitcher Rob Zastryzny loaded the bases to lead off the top half of the 13th inning, and Harrison hit a sacrifice fly to give the Pirates a lead.
But Pittsburgh’s lead didn’t last. Both Fowler and Bryant singled, and Rizzo’s RBI single on a drawn in infield scored the tying run. Locke then intentionally walked Ben Zobrist, and Montero’s opposite field single ended the game.
These two teams will play once again Tuesday when Pittsburgh’s Chad Kuhl (3-1, 3.50 ERA) takes on Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks (12-7, 2.19 ERA).
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