Mike Montgomery made his third start this season, and he was pretty good again. He was able to keep the Pirates from stringing hits together, scattering seven hits and walking one man in six innings of work. Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo drove in the only runs of the game, with Rizzo providing the eventual game winner on a sacrifice fly in the first. The Cubs offense did not do much after the second inning, but the pitching staff and defense kept the Pirates from engineering a comeback (Box Score).
Why the Cubs Won
Mike Montgomery and his crew (Mazzoni, Rosario, and Strop) shut the Pirates down. They allowed nine hits, walked two, and struck out four while holding the Pirates to one run.
Ian Happ laid out to make a stupendous diving grab to end the game. Josh Harrison would have had at least a double if he hadn’t made the catch. The defensive gem also kept the Pirates from scoring a run having the tying run in scoring position. It was Ian Happ’s third spectacular diving catch of the day in left field.
Stats that Matter
- Jason Heyward continued his hot stretch at the plate, going 2-4 with a double and a run scored.
- Kris Bryant, hitting in the lead off spot for the first time, went 3-4 and scored a run.
- Pedro Strop recorded his first save on the season.
- Mike Montgomery and co. did not allow the Pirates to get a hit with a runner in scoring position (0-13). This was Montgomery’s second quality start (out of three total) since joining the rotation when Yu Darvish went on the DL.
The Cubs are tied for the division lead and are 12 games above .500. For the moment, their .600 winning percentage is the best mark in the National League.
Tomorrow at 1:20 CT, Jon Lester will take the ball for the Cubs while Nick Kingham will start for the Pirates. The game will be broadcast on ABC-7.