The Chicago Cubs want to win the pennant, but the Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t going to make it easy. In a game that got off to a slow start (scoring wise, anyways) it was eventually the Cubs that came out on top.
Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta looked to be struggling early on. He allowed walks and hits early, often relying on the defense behind him, and it wasn’t until the 4th that he had a perfect 1,2,3 inning. He was already at 71 pitches by the time the 5th started. He wasn’t looking like the Arrieta we’ve seen of late in those early innings. He didn’t give up any runs, and went 6 innings, only allowing two hits, and striking out 4.
The Cubs had a couple opportunities to get the lead early, but it wasn’t until the 6th off of a Ben Zobrist lead off home run, his 10th of the year, that there was finally a score for the game. 1-0 Cubs. Kyle Schwarber walked after the Zobrist homer, bringing up Kris Bryant with a man on, and no outs. KB struck out, bringing up Anthony Rizzo, who smashed a double, moving both him and Schwarbs into scoring position for Tommy La Stella, who was intentionally walked. The bases were loaded for Alex Avila, who brought in a run with a single. 2-0 Cubs, bases still loaded, and one out for Jason Heyward. J-Hey drove in another run with a sac fly. Javier Baez struck out, ending the inning. 3-0 Cubs going to the 7th.
Reliever Koji Uehara gave up a home run in the 7th, getting the Pirates on the board. 3-1 Cubs. After allowing a base hit, Uehara was replaced by Pedro Strop, who quickly ended the inning.
KB led off the 8th with a walk, And Rizzo brought him in with an RBI double. 4-1 Cubs, one on, no outs. La Stella fouled out, bringing up Avila, who struck out. J-Hey came up and struck out. Cubs get an insurance run and go to the 9th, leading 4-1.
Cubs win the series, and will go for the sweep Wednesday.
The Cubs have a 3.5 game lead ahead of Milwaukee, and remain in first place in the NL Central. It’s the home stretch. In a couple days, all clubs will get to use their 40 man rosters.
Let the games begin.