Pirates Score Seven In The 7th, Defeat Cubs 9-2

The Cubs committed five errors Tuesday night at PNC Park

Matt Harkins
September 24, 2019 - 10:16 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - The Pittsburgh Pirates would take out some frustration Tuesday night as they opened up their final homestand of the 2019 season at PNC Park defeating the Chicago Cubs 9-2 in game one of the three game series.

"It's good all over," said Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle. "The fight's been there, the work's been there, but we've not translated the success on the field or in the box. And we hung tight, it's a 1-0 game and a guy's spinning another no-no against us thru the sixth inning and Newman was able to put a stop to that. And then to open up the seventh the way we did and just stayed on the attack."

Both Mitch Keller and Kyle Hendricks had control of the game for the first three innings Tuesday night at PNC Park, but the Cubs were able to break through for the first run of the night when Nico Hoerner doubled to right center field that allowed Jason Heyward to come around to score from first base and give the Cubs the 1-0 lead.

In what was Keller's final start of the 2019 season, there were plenty of positives that he can take into the off-season as he now knows what he needs to work on when he starts his preparation for Spring Training next season.

"You remember this one a little bit more," said Keller. "In the off-season, this is the one you are going to look back at. So, I wanted to go out with a good one and me and Stalls (Stallings) had a really good gameplan and executed it well."

The final line for Keller Tuesday night was five innings pitched as he gave up seven hits, two walks and one run while striking out seven Cubs batters on 92 pitches (59 strikes).

After scoreless relief appearances by Chris Stratton and Francisco Liriano in the sixth and seventh innings, the Pirates offense finally woke up against Hendricks in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff double by Adam Frazier.

After singles by Jose Osuna and Colin Moran loaded the bases, Jacob Stallings would bring home the first two runs of the game for the Pirates.  Kevin Kramer would then bring home Moran with a double into the right field corner followed by a ball hit by Erik Gonzalez that Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist couldn't handle that would score Stallings and Kramer to give the Pirates a 5-1 lead.

The Pirates offense has struggled over the past couple weeks, but they were able to break out tonight, put some runs up and kind of run away with a game for the first time in awhile this season.

"Milwaukee wasn't easy on us and then tonight the first six you're in it again," said Kramer. "Hendricks obviously is a professional pitcher and he knows what he's doing up there. He just can put it where he wants and he was on tonight. We got some early, weird, cheap hits in the beginning of the seventh and that is just how it goes. You barrel some balls and they're caught or things like that happen. We just wanted to take advantage of the momentum and just like I said luckily we we're able to just take advantage of it and kind of blow the doors open right there."

The Pirates would add on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh as they sent thirteen batters to the plate as the Cubs would use four different pitchers to get out of the inning.

In the top of the eighth, the Cubs would get one run back, but in the bottom half of the inning, after Jake Elmore would leadoff the inning with an infield single, Gonzalez would put one into the seats in right centerfield for his first home run of the season to give the Pirates the 9-2 lead.

It has been an up and down year for Gonzalez this season from earning the starting shortstop job out of Spring Training to losing his starting job after getting injured in a collision with Starling Marte and has quietly had a good month of September for the Pirates.

Gonzalez now has an 8-game hitting streak after hitting the home run Tuesday night. He doesn't know what management's plans are for him heading into the off-season and next season, but that is out of his control and all he can do is perform out on the field and show how he can contribute and help this team win.

"For me, I can't control that, just try to work hard everyday and when I get a chance to play, try to put all my talent in the field," said Gonzalez. "Try to keep my mind really strong."

With the loss, and a win by the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night, the Cubs magic number to be officially eliminated from 2019 postseason is one.  A loss to the Pirates Wednesday night at PNC Park or a win by the Brewers would do it.

In game two of this series Wednesday night at PNC Park, the Pirates will send Dario Agrazal (4-5, 5.08 ERA) to the mound against Jon Lester (13-10, 4.51 ERA) and the Cubs at 7:05 pm.

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