The Chicago Cubs have had some rough losses in recent days, but they finally put a close game in the win column on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
Kris Bryant hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, and Ian Happ scored on a throwing error in the eighth to help the Cubs snap their road losing streak.
After a shaky start, Jon Lester settled in nicely, giving up just four hits and zero runs in six innings. He did have five walks, but he managed three strikeouts and kept the Pirates off the board until the Cubs’ offense could get going.
Pirates starter Steven Brault had a strong day as well, giving up just one earned run and scattering two hits, but the big hit he gave up was the Bryant home run, which sent him to the tough luck loss.
That home run came in the seventh inning after both teams were held off the scoreboard through the first six innings of the contest. Leading off the inning, Bryant reached out and golfed an outside pitch over the left field wall for a 387 foot home run, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates had a key scoring opportunity with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, but Tyler Chatwood was able to pitch out of the jam, inducing a groundout from Josh Bell to keep the Cubs in front.
The Cubs added a run in the eighth when Happ scampered home after an errant pickoff throw from Elias Diaz to make it 2-0, and that was all the offense the Cubs’ bullpen needed.
The Pirates did manage to get the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but Rowan Wick retired Bryan Reynolds on a groundout to shortstop to finish off the shutout victory, ending a nightmarish stretch for the Cubs.
The Cubs and Pirates will now hop on buses to head to Williamsport, the site of the Little League World Series, for the annual Little League Classic on Sunday night. The Cubs, who have gone 3-6 so far on their current road trip, will look to add a fourth win to that total when they sent José Quintana to the mound in the nationally televised contest.