After a hard road trip, it was nice to be back in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs started a 3 game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it’s clear, they were putting the past weekend’s woes behind them.
Anthony Rizzo led off the 2nd with a double, bringing up Ian Happ, who brought in the first run of the game with an RBI single. Alex Avila grounded into a double play, giving the home team two outs. Jason Heyward hit a single, bringing up Javier Baez. Heyward ended up stealing his fourth base of the year, putting him in scoring position for Javy. The Pirates ended up intentionally walking Baez, deciding to go after starting pitcher Mike Montgomery, who flew out, ending the inning at 1-0 Cubs.
The Cubbies had the potential for a big inning in the 5th, when Montgomery had in infield single, followed by Tommy La Stella hitting a single as well, sending Montgomery to third. Kris Bryant walked, leaving the bases loaded for Anthony Rizzo with only 1 out. He hit a sac fly, bringing in a run, but it was so close to being gone, it was kind of disappointing that only one run scored. Happ was up next and struck out. 2-0 Cubs to end the inning.
Jay reached on an error to lead off the 7th, KB hit a single after Albert Almora Jr. struck out, leaving two on, one out for Rizzo, who had a sac, advancing the runners for Happ, who was intentionally walked, bringing up Avila with the bases loaded. who after struggling most of the night, smashed a two run single, but thanks to a couple throwing errors, three scored. 5-0 Cubs going to the 8th.
The Pirates finally got on the board in the 8th, off of a solo home run, and bringing in Carl Edwards Jr to relieve Montgomery.
Montgomery did some excellent work on the mound, despite giving up 6 hits and a run. He had plenty of support, both offensively and defensively. He went 7 shutout innings prior to the homer, and received a much deserved standing ovation from the crowd.
Ben Zobrist hit a single in the Cubs half of the 8th, and Almora brought him in with an RBI double. 6-1 Cubs going to the 9th.
The Cubs now have 70 wins, and remain in first place in the NL Central.
Jake Arrieta takes the mound Tuesday in game two of the series.