Bryant plates three to lead Cubs past Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- Rookie Kris Bryant drove in three runs and hustled to score another on an error, leading the Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Pirates on Monday night at PNC Park.
Once Jake Arrieta escaped a first-inning jam thanks to some sharp fielding, including his own, he didn't allow another baserunner until a two-out double in the sixth inning by Andrew McCutchen -- who also hit an RBI single in the first. Arrieta struck out seven without issuing a walk.
Bryant's two-out single in the fifth off A.J. Burnett tied it at 1, and he untied it with a two-out, two-run double in the seventh off Arquimedes Caminero. Bryant took third on the throw home, wound up in a rundown and scored when catcher Francisco Cervelli dropped a throw for the error.
"Our offense is going to win us a ton of games this year," Arrieta said. "We have a special lineup -- a lot of young players, but with the addition of Bryant now, it takes the pressure off [Jorge] Soler, [Anthony] Rizzo and [Starlin] Castro. We're moving in an incredibly solid direction and it's fun to be a part of it."
Burnett wound up going six innings, allowing eight hits and two walks but only one run.
"I was able to make pitches with guys on base, get some double plays," said Burnett, who was helped by a pair of double plays, including one off Bryant's bat in the third. "I tried to get the sinker to roll over down into the zone, and luckily it did. You saw his next at-bat: The sinker was up, and he was able to fire it off to right field for the RBI."
The game was delayed for about 20 minutes in the top of the second as a woman was tended to after being struck by a foul ball while standing behind the protective screen behind the plate.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kids stuff: Bryant added another big league first, when he grounded into a double play in the third, the first time he's done that in his first four games. But the rookie also delivered an RBI single with two outs in the fifth, driving in Soler to tie the game, and he smacked his memorable tie-breaking two-run double in the seventh. Soler, also a rookie, set a career high with his first four-hit game.
"Coming out of Spring Training, it just seemed like he was that guy," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Bryant. "He's not going to be overly impressed or concerned or enamored or starry eyed. He's just going to come play baseball, and that's what he does."
Bucs let the big one get away: If they scored hard-hit balls, the Pirates would have had a bunch of runs in the first inning. As it was, they came away with only one, even though every ball struck off Arrieta was crushed. Two great defensive plays and a third-out line drive by Pedro Alvarez kept the Bucs to McCutchen's RBI single. More >
Milestones: Arrieta was making his 100th career start, and he struck out seven to raise his career K total to 500. Arrieta is 4-0 against the Pirates for his career, giving up nine earned runs over 30 innings. More >
"He's the old bull that's been around. He's out there going, 'I'm gonna get you or you're gonna get me. Not gonna be a whole lotta Mickey Mousing going on around here.'" -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on the veteran Burnett
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the fifth, the fifth time he's been plunked in the past 11 games. In at least the last 50 years, only one Cub has been hit that many times in the entire month of April, and that was Reed Johnson, who was hit five times in April 2008.
Pirates starting pitchers have fashioned a 1.99 ERA in their last eight games (11 earned runs in 49 2/3 innings), and they have authored nine quality starts in the team's first 13 games.
OVERTURNED CALL KEEPS GAME TIED
The Cubs' apparent go-ahead run in the fifth inning was erased when Hurdle got plate umpire D.J. Reyburn's call overturned on appeal. Rizzo tried to score from second on Miguel Montero's two-out single to left, and Reyburn ruled he slid under catcher Cervelli's tag with the throw from Starling Marte. Upon review, Rizzo was ruled out, keeping the game tied at 1. The Cubs challenged that Cervelli had blocked the plate in violation of Rule 7:13, but the out call was confirmed.
Cubs: Travis Wood gets the start Tuesday in the second game of this four-game series. The Pirates batted .329 against the lefty last season, and he paid, compiling a 6.63 ERA in four starts with 14 earned runs allowed over 19 innings. Wood was solid in his last outing, throwing seven-plus shutout innings vs. the Reds on April 15. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT. Addison Russell is also expected to make his big league debut.
Pirates: The Bucs will lose their distinction as the only Major League team yet to face a left-handed starter when they confront Wood in the 7:05 p.m. ET game at PNC Park. Pittsburgh went 20-13 against southpaw starters last season. Francisco Liriano goes against Wood in the duel of lefties.
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