This recap is about as late as the Cubs offense finally showing any signs of consistency. The Pittsburgh Pirates are not a good team right now, but that hasn't prevented the Cubs from flubbing an opportunity to rack up much needed wins in 2019. But for one afternoon the Cubs took care of business and increased the odds of extending the season into October.
Kyle Hendricks was very good once again. The strikeout was not a big part of his game, but he worked quickly to retire the Pirates. The first inning the Pirates made a bunch of contact, but none found. Kevin Newman grounded out to third and then a couple of fly outs ended the inning.
James Marvel was making his second start. Anthony Rizzo greeted the rookie righty with a single through the shift. Nicholas Castellanos flew out to center for the first out before Kris Bryant singled into left. Kyle Schwarber hit a ball hard but for the second out in the center. Willson Contreras bounced into an inning ending fielder's choice. This would be the last time the Cubs were kept off the scoreboard until the eighth inning.
Adam Frazier and Pablo Reyes hit back to back singles with one out in the second inning. Kevin Kramer was the Professor's first strike out victim. Elias Diaz flew out to left to end the inning. The Pirates were able to put runners in scoring position frequently in the afternoon, but most of the time the Cubs pitchers were able to keep them off the board.
Ben Zobrist led off the second with a groundball single. Jason Heyward bounced into a fielder's choice by beating the throw back to first. Nico Hoerner singled to move Heyward to third. The Professor sacrificed Hoerner to second for the second out. Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Nicholas Castellanos doubled to clear the bases and give the Cubs the lead that they were never in danger of surrendering. Kris Bryant singled in Castellanos to make it a 4-0 lead before Kyle Schwarber grounded out.
Ben Zobrist hit a one out solo shot in the bottom of the third, but the Cubs could do no more damage in that frame. Hendricks finally broke in the fourth inning. Jose Osuna and Adam Frazier hit back to back singles to start it. Reyes bounced back to Hendricks to advance the pair into scoring position. Kevin Kramer hit a ball deep enough to score Osuna, but Hendricks induced a pop fly to Rizzo to end the inning.
Marvel's last inning was the bottom half of the fourth. He retired the first two batters, but he couldn't escape unscathed. Castellanos ripped a double into left field. Kris Bryant launched home run number 29 to make it a 7-1 score, and the rout was fully on at this point. Hendricks pitched a couple of scoreless frames to complete a quality start and earn one of the easier victories of his career.
Wei-Chung Wang retired Willson Contreras to start the inning. The next three hitters would reach with the baseball not hit particularly hard. Zobrist drew a walk and Heyward hit an infield single. Nico Hoerner pulled a ground ball through the left side of the infield to load the bases. Hendricks worked the count full but a bunt went foul for the strike out. Anthony Rizzo then pulled a ball over the head of the shifted second baseman to drive in a pair of runs and chase Wang. Clay Holmes entered the game and fired three straight pitches into the right handed batter's box. With Nicholas Castellanos and Kris Bryant standing in the box for the first of those two pitches resulted in the bases being reloaded and the tenth run scoring. Kyle Schwarber just took ball one on the third straight pitch in the same vicinity. Holmes fired a pitch, which Diaz failed to handle initially, and which Rizzo tried to score on, but which was cut down at the plate easily.
Holmes continued pitching in the sixth inning, and he plunked his third batter with two outs. Holmes then walked Heyward before Hoerner delivered his second bomb, making it a 13-1 lead. James Norwood took over for Hendricks in the seventh. He punched out the first two batters before Kevin Newman tripled. Norwood then walked Bryan Reynolds, and that brought Melky Cabrera to the plate. He hit it deep, but it remained in the park for the final out. Victor Caratini led off the inning with a solo shot.
The eighth inning was the only clean frame in the game. Danny Hultzen and Yefry Ramirez retired all six batters they faced to send the game to the ninth. Dillon Maples was given a thirteen run lead to work with in the ninth. Maples had a very Maples outing with striking out Kevin Kramer. He then plunked Elias Diaz and Erik Gonzalez. For some reason the home plate umpire decided to toss Maples for hitting Gonzalez with a curveball. That mean the Cubs had to make one more pitching change. Derek Holland retired the two batters he faced to end the game with little drama.
The Cubs scored double digit runs in back to back games. So that means: