The Cubs took care of business Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, winning the series with a blowout. Chicago got an excellent start from Javier Assad and another big offensive performance from Cody Bellinger.
The Cubs grabbed a quick lead on Bailey Falter in the opening frame with a Nico Hoerner double and an RBI single from Bellinger. The Pirates answered back in the bottom half against Assad when Ji Hwan Bae doubled and scored on a groundout by Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Jeimer Candelario put the North Siders ahead for good with a rocket two-run homer down the left field line in the top of the 3rd. Assad settled in nicely and kept Pittsburgh off the scoreboard after the 1st inning.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 27, 2023
Chicago opened the margin up with three runs in the 5th. Hoerner and Dansby Swanson hit back-to-back singles and pulled off a double steal to set up Bellinger for a two-run double which knocked out the Pirates starter. Seiya Suzuki stayed hot with his own two-bagger to make it a 6-1 game.
Assad got better as the contest progressed, going seven strong innings. There was a slight injury scare when he was flexing his wrist in the 5th, but he remained in and it did not seem to affect him.
Chicago tacked on four more in the final two frames highlighted by another two RBI double from Bellinger. Keegan Thompson returned and pitched quite well, striking out five batters in the 8th and 9th to finish the 10-1 victory. (Box score)
Candelario’s home run broke the tie and gave the Cubs a lead they would never relinquish.
Why the Cubs Won
They got a terrific start and put up plenty of offense to finally have a comfortable win they did not have to sweat.
Stats That Matter
- Assad has been very good and two of his wins have come on Sunday so the Cubs must love that: 7 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 7 K, and 2 BB.
- Bellinger became the first Cub since Derrek Lee in 2009 to rack up 50 RBI in a 50-game span.
- Suzuki is on an absolute tear lately and is suddenly one of the scariest hitters in the lineup.
The Cubs finished their stretch against teams with losing records with an 8-4 mark, which is exactly what they needed. Don’t get me wrong, going 10-2 would’ve been awesome, it’s just not as easy as people seem to think. Though they could not gain ground on the absolutely unconscious Brewers in the division, their position in the Wild Card is significantly stronger than before these 12 games. The National League Central winner is not getting a first-round bye, so the important thing is just getting in.
The Cubs welcome Milwaukee, winners of eight in a row, to Wrigley for three starting Monday at 7:05pm CT. Jameson Taillon does battle against Wade Miley in a big game available on Marquee and 670 The Score.