W: Jameson Taillon (5-4)
L: Jake Arrieta (18-8)
MVP: John Jaso (hit for cycle, 5 RBI)
The Cubs and Pirates played game three of a four-game series and lost 8-4. The Northsiders kicked off the scoring in the 1st, when Anthony Rizzo hit his 32nd longball of the year to put the Cubs up 1-0.
Jake Arrieta was on the mound for the Cubs and from the start, it was evident that he didn’t have his best stuff.
The Pirates 1st inning started with back-to-back hits by Adam Frazier and Josh Bell. Arrieta then threw a wild pitch which led Frazier to third base. Next up was Andrew McCutchen, who grounded into a double play but pushed a run across. Arrieta then issued a two-out walk to Matt Joyce. Sean Rodriguez struck out to end the inning and the Pirates settled for a run.
The next of the scoring came in the Pirate half of the 4th, when Matt Joyce led off the inning with a walk and went to third on a Sean Rodriguez single. John Jaso followed with a three-run bomb, giving the Pirates a 4-1 lead. The Pirates got two more baserunners in the inning but couldn’t bring them home.
In the 5th, the pesky Pirates struck again.
The inning started with four consecutive hits, the first of which was a double by Sean Rodriguez. He scored on a double by John Jaso, who was doubled home by David Freese. David Fryer kept it going with an RBI single and the Pirates took a 7-1 lead.
The Cubs tried to trim their deficit by scoring three times in the top of the 7th. Addison Russell was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning, followed by a walk to Albert Almora. Next up was Willson Contreras, who reached on a force attempt and went to second on a throwing error by Freese. That same play also brought Russell home and made it 7-2 ballgame. Tommy La Stella checked in to the batter’s box and hit a two- run single, making it a 7-4 ball game. That was the only scoring chance the Cubs took advantage of.
The Pirates tacked on a run in their half of the 7th on a Jaso triple, which completed his cycle and made it an 8-4 ballgame.
John Jaso was the star of the night as he drove in five runs and hit for the cycle, the first in PNC park history. He singled in the second, hit a three-run homer in the 4th, had an RBI double in the 5th, and an RBI triple in the 7th.
Jake Arrieta hasn’t had many starts that you could call awful, but last night was pretty bad. He gave up seven runs on ten hits over just five innings. It was an uncharacteristic outing that started off shaky and got progressively worse. It sounds odd to say that Arrieta didn’t give the Cubs a chance to win but last night was just one of those nights. His record dropped to 18-8 and his next start will be in the playoffs against whichever team wins the National League Wild Card.
There’s no doubt that Jaso had an impressive night at the plate. However, he had some help from the official scorer who gave him a triple in the 7th inning when it was clearly a double. The call should have been a two-bagger, advanced to the third on the throw. In the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t matter as the Pirates are eliminated and the Cubs have already clinched. It was just very apparent that the official scorer screwed up last night.
The Cubs close out the series tonight in Pittsburgh and it’ll be a bullpen effort. Rob Zastryzny will make the start as Joe Maddon is trying to keep all of his arms fresh. The Cubs will then head to Cincinnati to close out the season with a three-game weekend series.