The Cubs looked like they were on the way to an easy victory on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, then things fell apart. Luckily, they didn’t quit and were able to pull out a win in extras.
Ian Happ opened up the game with a solo homer, then a bases-loaded walk by Jason Kipnis added a run in the 2nd. Jon Lester had men on most of the night, but only allowed a run on a RBI ground out through five.
The Cubs appeared to have blown the game open in the 5th inning when Javier Baez doubled and Kyle Schwarber hit a 2-run bomb to right. At 6-1, things were looking pretty good as Lester tried to go six innings.Big Jon lost steam all at once, though, as Ke’Bryan Hayes and Jose Osuna doubled as part of a four-run inning which cut the deficit to 6-5.
Then came a 71-minute rain delay in the 8th inning, after which the Cubs bullpen gave up the lead. Hayes, making his major league debut, homered off of Dan Winkler to tie the game at 6.
The game went to extra innings and both teams traded runs in the 10th. Happ singled home the Cubs’ free runner in the 11th to go up 8-7. De facto closer Jeremy Jeffress, who got the last out in the 10th, kept the Pirates off the board in the bottom of the inning to earn the win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The offense was good most of the night and the bullpen was able to keep the Pirates mostly in check.
Stats That Matter
- Lester maybe more of a 5-inning starter at this point in his career: 5.1 IP, 5 R, 8 H, 3 K, and 3 BB.
- Kris Bryant had two hits and scored a key run in his return to the lineup.
- Jason Heyward had two more hits and a sacrifice fly as he stayed hot.
This was hardly a work of art, but hey a win is a win and the Cubs aren’t complaining. Also thank goodness for Jeffress.