Comeback Falls Short as Cubs Drop One to Pirates


Apr 21, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) is greeted by manager Joe Maddon (R) after Rizzo scored a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In a chilly game in Pittsburgh, one in which we saw snow fall, the Chicago Cubs’ comeback fell just short as they dropped the third of four games in Pittsburgh by a score of 4-3. After winning the first two games of the series, a win tonight would’ve meant a series win. However, the Cubs will have to wait until tomorrow to see if they can get that job done.

It seems to be a common theme that the Cubs fall behind early and battle their way back.  Tonight was no different.  The Pirates scored the first three runs of the game and it all got started in the second when Francisco Cervelli doubled to right to plate Starling Marte.  Later in that inning, Jung-Ho Kang hit a sacrifice fly that scored Pedro Alvarez to make it a 2-0 Pirate lead.

The Pirates used another sacrifice fly in the 3rd.  Alvarez was the batter this time and he drove in Andrew McCutchen to push the lead to three. The Cubs would scratch the scoreboard in the next half inning when Starlin Castro drove in Kris Bryant with a ground out to the third basemen.

Lets turn our attention to the fifth when Gregory Polanco, a guy who Pirate fans are very excited about, belted a home run to right field to stretch the Pirate lead back out to three.

The snow started to enter the equation in about the 6th and 7th innings, and that had me worried.  If it kept up, I didn’t think the Cubs were going to be able to muster anything up.  Fortunately, the snow stopped and then the eighth inning rolled around.  The first four Cub hitters reached base in the inning and it looked like the comeback kids were at it again.

With two outs in the inning and runners on first and third, Addison Russell stepped to the plate.  It wasn’t Russell’s sharpest at bat as he hit a blooper to Neil Walker that ended the Cub threat, but the youngster did have his first major league hit in this one.  When the top of the eighth was all said and done the Cubs had dwindled the Pirate lead down to one on RBI’s by Miguel Montero and David Ross.

After holding the Pirates scoreless in the eighth, the Cubs came to bat in the ninth.  After the first two men in the order went down, Anthony Rizzo stepped to the plate.  He hit a bloop single into left field and that gave Kris Bryant a chance.  After running the count full, something he seemed to be doing all night, he struck out swinging to end the threat and the ball game.

Something to keep your eyes on over the next few days is Dexter Fowler’s health.  The center fielder left the game with groin tightness.  That probably had something to do with the 35 degree weather in Pittsburgh, but it’s still something to watch.

Bryant showed his versatility this evening when Joe Maddon bumped him out to center field for the eighth inning.  Of course, the first ball of the inning was struck his way and while it was fairly routine, it was nice to see him make the play.

Jason Hammel was the Cub starter, he went five innings, gave up six hits, and three earned runs.  Hammel also took the loss in this one which makes his record 1-1 on the young season.  Pirate starter, Vance Worley, grabbed the W, his second of the year.

The Cubs and Pirates will wrap up the series tomorrow as first pitch is scheduled for 11:35 a.m. CT.  The starters are scheduled to be; Kyle Hendricks (0-0) for the Cubs and Jeff Locke (2-0) for the Pirates.

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