Pittsburgh’s hitting had issues again in game two, not being able to score runs when it mattered hurt the Bucs. The Pirates almost had another one-hit game, like in game one. However, they were able to cut the Cubs’ 4-0 lead, to 4-3 late in the game. No one can dispute that the Cubs have been, hot, but the Pirates should be able to play better than they have been.
Mitch Keller took the bump for the Bucs, and looked good until the 3rd inning. Keller gave up two homers and then left the game with an injury, suspected to be a left oblique strain. Chris Stratton came in to take his place with two outs remaining and a runner on.
Both team went scoreless in the first two innings, though each club did get runners on base. However, the Cubs broke the game open with two no doubters in the top of the 3rd. Ian Happ started the scoring, then Javier Baez homered to take a 2-0 lead.
Pittsburgh was finally able to tally some hits in the top of the 7th. Chatwood left the game after walking Gregory Polanco to load the bases with two outs. Chicago’s starter left the game with 11 strikeouts through 6.2 innings, tying his career high.
The Bucs were unable to score with the bases loaded in the top of the 7th. Phillip Evans grounded to short to kill the momentum. The Pirates’ bats continue to be absent when it counts the most. Even Colin Moran, who leads the team in batting average with .296 couldn’t get anything going.
Luckily for Pittsburgh, their bullpen had kept the Cubs’ lead at 2-0. Both JT Brubaker and Chris Stratton combined for five strikeouts. The Pirates’ pitching only walked two hitters in seven innings of work, whereas, in game-one, they walked five in five innings.
Michael Feliz came in for Brubaker and completely destroyed the momentum of the pitching staff. Giving up a two-run shot to Kyle Schwarber, allowing the Cubs to take a commanding 4-0 lead in the bottom of the 8th.
After the homer, Feliz left the game with an apparent injury. This was the second Bucs’ pitcher to leave early due to injury in this game. Miguel Del Pozo came in for the injured Feliz.
The Bucs made things interesting in the 9th when Moran blasted a two-run homer with one out, cutting the Cubs’ lead in half. Later, a Gregory Polanco grounder scored Bryan Reynolds from third to cut the lead to one-run.
The Pirates couldn’t muster up the courage to get the tying run home. They did make a valiant effort put up some runs late, but they can’t rely on late runs to win games. The third and final game is tomorrow afternoon.
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