Castro's four RBIs lead Cubs in win over Bucs
PITTSBURGH -- Starlin Castro drove in four runs, two on a game-tying single in the ninth, and Welington Castillo's infield bouncer brought in the winning run Tuesday as the Cubs stormed back for a 9-8 win over the Pirates.
"When have we not played for nine innings?" Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm really proud of our guys. They all did their jobs and are playing at a high level mentally and physically."
Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon surrendered hits on his first two pitches of the ninth to set up the Cubs' three-run rally after Jung Ho Kang had given the Bucs an 8-5 lead with a bases-clearing double in the seventh for his first Major League RBIs.
"Everyone who took the ball for us tonight got nicked," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, after each of the five pitchers he used was scored upon, beginning with starter Francisco Liriano. "[With Melancon], it comes down to location and execution."
Starling Marte drove in two runs for the Bucs, one on his fourth homer in five games, and Francisco Cervelli had a two-run single. Also driving in two runs was Cubs rookie Kris Bryant, giving him five RBIs in the series' first two games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kid stuff: Bryant has made it easy to forget his Major League debut game when he was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. On Tuesday, the Cubs rookie third baseman went 2-for-4, and now is 8-for-14 with six RBIs since the debut at Wrigley. He hit an RBI double in the first and was credited with an RBI when he reached on an error in the third.
"They're going to have some bad days," Maddon said of the Cubs' young players. "It's not going to be an oil painting every night. … They're good, they're good baseball players. I'm really excited about the people, too."
In a pinch, Cole grabs bat: Pitcher Gerrit Cole made his pinch-hitting debut in the fifth inning but, really, it was a sidebar without much of a plot. Cervelli had led off with a single, and the Bucs were looking to bunt him into scoring position. The only healthy (sore-chested Jordy Mercer and No. 2 catcher Chris Stewart excluded) players on the bench were lefty swingers Pedro Alvarez, Gregory Polanco and Andrew Lambo. So Cole hit for Liriano and against Travis Wood -- and fanned on three pitches.
"I'm not a big fan of burning my backup catcher in the fifth inning," Hurdle said by way of explaining the use of Cole.
A 'makeup' game for Cervelli: The Pirates catcher had a frustrating Monday night when he went hitless and could neither catch nor make throws. He made up for it nicely with a two-run single and a nifty tag-out at the plate.
"I was a little off [Monday night]. That was a crazy game," Cervelli said. "But that was yesterday, and you gotta come every day fresh. This is baseball, every day you got a new opportunity, that's why this is a beautiful sport."
Penmanship: Teams were batting just .209 against the Cubs bullpen, which had given up seven runs over the last three games, but on Tuesday, the relievers served up five runs over two innings. Brian Schlitter and Jason Motte both had tough outings.
"I saw really good stuff in Spring Training [from Schlitter]," Maddon said. "I see good stuff now. It's just a matter of execution and confidence in trusting himself."
"We've had a nice relationship for many years. I've always had a lot of respect for Joe [West]. I've felt over the last several years he's one of the best umpires in baseball. We do enjoy our exchanges. I would send him a Christmas card, I would go out for a drink with him. Absolutely." -- Maddon, on West, after the two had a little exchange during the game regarding a request for an appeal
"It all comes down to the battle and seeing who comes out on top. At the end of the night, they executed in a few situations better. And scored one more run than us." -- Hurdle, on losing the lead and the game
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch for the sixth time this month in the first, setting the franchise mark for hit-by-pitches in April. The last Cub to be hit by more than five pitches in any calendar month was Rizzo, who was plunked six times in July 2014.
Monday night's start was A.J. Burnett's fourth since his rookie season in which he pitched six or more innings while registering only one strikeout. Three have been against Maddon-managed clubs, 2006 and 2010 outings against the Tampa Bay Rays preceding the latest against the Cubs. The other instance came in 2009 against the Tigers.
The Cubs challenged a call at home plate in the seventh when Bryant tried to score on Chris Coghlan's single, but after a review, the call stood. The Cubs now are 0-5 in replay challenges.
Cubs: Jason Hammel gets the start Wednesday in the third game of the Cubs' four-game series against the Pirates at PNC Park. Hammel is coming off a no-decision to the Padres in which he gave up four runs over 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander is 4-3 with 3.88 ERA in eight career starts against the Pirates. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.
Pirates: Vance Worley, who has won six of his eight PNC Park starts with the Pirates, will seek to remain undefeated against the Cubs in the 7:05 p.m. ET third game of the series. The righty has a 2-0 record with a 2.39 ERA in four career starts against Chicago.
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