The Cubs kept the good times rolling Tuesday night with another dominant effort against the Pirates at a humid PNC Park. Marcus Stroman was very sharp again and Chicago shut Pittsburgh out for a second consecutive game.
Tucker Barnhart provided a very unexpected solo home run off of Johan Oviedo in the top of the 3rd inning to give the Cubs a 1-0 edge. Ian Happ tripled with one out in the 4th and came in on a sacrifice fly from Cody Bellinger.
Two runs were more than enough for Stroman, who stifled the Pirates for his entire outing and only allowed two runners to reach second base in seven terrific frames. Mike Tauchman continued his red-hot stretch with a solo home run crushed down the left-field line in the 8th.
Mike Tauch-HIM pic.twitter.com/CrbgyG4ndR
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 21, 2023
Later in that same inning, Nico Hoerner tripled and scored on a Seiya Suzuki sac fly. Hoerner was initially called out at the plate but replay review proved he had beaten the tag with a tremendous slide. Mark Leiter Jr. and Adbert Alzolay kept Pittsburgh off the board in the final two innings to preserve the 4-0 victory. (Box score)
The Pirates had men on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the 7th. Stroman struck out Cal Mitchell to end the threat and preserve the 2-0 Cubs advantage.
Why the Cubs Won
They have completely blanked Pittsburgh the entire series and were able to hit a couple of home runs and bring home a pair of runners from third base to provide ample offense.
Stats That Matter
- Stroman has been just brilliant for over a month and this was more of the same: 7 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 5 K, and 1 BB.
- Happ had two hits and was robbed of a double on a great catch by Jack Suwinski in center.
- Barnhart also drew a walk and flew out to the warning track in addition to his dinger.
The Cubs have now won four consecutive series and is playing as well as they have all season long. A big reason for that success is Stroman, with whom the front office really needs to work out an extension. They have the money to do so and it would be hard to find a free agent who can match his production. With the team now fighting its way back into the race, the chances of a selloff are dropping and it’s time to start building back up.
The North Siders try to sweep the Pirates Wednesday at 11:35am CT. A pair of veterans are on the mound with Kyle Hendricks taking on the ageless Rich Hill in a contest airing on MLB Network (out of market only), Marquee, and 670 The Score.