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Cubs' solo HR vs. Bucs not enough this time

Chatwood struggles in spot start, bullpen follows with 6 scoreless
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Chatwood, who leads the Majors in walks issued this year, continued to struggle with his command in a spot start against the Pirates at PNC Park on Saturday night, walking three while allowing three runs over two-plus innings in the Cubs' 3-1 loss.

"It wasn't a whole lot different than the last two nights," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It really wasn't. We gave up three runs in one inning; otherwise you had yourself another 1-0 game."

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PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Chatwood, who leads the Majors in walks issued this year, continued to struggle with his command in a spot start against the Pirates at PNC Park on Saturday night, walking three while allowing three runs over two-plus innings in the Cubs' 3-1 loss.

"It wasn't a whole lot different than the last two nights," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It really wasn't. We gave up three runs in one inning; otherwise you had yourself another 1-0 game."

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Chatwood faced the minimum in the first inning but opened the second by issuing back-to-back walks to Josh Bell and Francisco Cervelli. Chatwood worked Adam Frazier into an 0-2 count in the ensuing at-bat before elevating a changeup that was lined into center field for an RBI double, giving the Pirates their first run of the series.

Colin Moran doubled Pittsburgh's advantage in the next at-bat, swinging on a cutter from Chatwood and driving in Cervelli on a groundout. Adeiny Hechavarria then lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Frazier to make it 3-0.

Video: CHC@PIT: Hechavarria drives in Frazier on sac fly

The Cubs sent Chatwood back out to pitch the third but lifted him following a four-pitch walk to Corey Dickerson to lead off the frame. It was Chatwood's MLB-high 93rd walk of the season.

"I didn't see it getting better," Maddon said. "The two walks led to two of the three runs. … I know we're not scoring runs, and I know [Pirates starter Joe Musgrove] is pitching really well. So it's a bad assumption to think that if you continue to let them maybe get four or five [runs] at that point, that you would have any chance."

Chicago signed Chatwood, 28, to a three-year deal last offseason after he spent five seasons with the Rockies. The right-hander began 2018 in the starting rotation, posting a 4-5 record with a 4.89 ERA in 19 starts before making the move to the bullpen.

He appeared to take a step forward in his last relief appearance, throwing three scoreless innings against the Nationals on Aug. 11. When asked what he can take away from Saturday's short start, Chatwood replied, "Keep working."

"It's the only thing I can do," said Chatwood, who was starting for injured left-hander Mike Montgomery. "I'm fighting myself and trying to beat another team. So it feels like I'm fighting uphill. But all you can do is keep trying to come back, and regain the form I had in the past."

Video: CHC@PIT: Russel, Baez tur 6-4-3 double play

The bullpen strung together six scoreless innings from four relievers, but the Cubs weren't able to produce enough offense to climb out of an early hole.

Musgrove compiled seven strikeouts over seven innings, with his only blemish coming in the third inning. Following two quick outs, Ben Zobrist ripped an 0-2 fastball into the right-field seats to cut the Cubs' deficit to two runs.

Saturday marked the third straight game in which Chicago's offense was limited to a solo home run.

"We played good baseball," Maddon said. "We ran the bases well, we caught the ball on defense, our bullpen was outstanding. Our bats just have to come alive a bit. Otherwise, I'm pleased with the game."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Missed chance: Willson Contreras reached on a bunt single with one out in the fifth inning. Thanks to aggressive baserunning on a Tommy La Stella single, the Cubs set up runners on the corners with a two-run deficit. Addison Russell battled Musgrove for a seven-pitch at-bat that ultimately ended in a strikeout, then Zobrist flied out to end the inning and the run-scoring opportunity.

Video: CHC@PIT: Musgrove strands a pair in the 5th

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With two out and two on in the fifth inning, Gregory Polanco ripped a 2-1 fastball to center field that appeared as though it would score at least one run. However Jason Heyward rushed forward, making a slick sliding grab to end the frame and keep the Cubs' deficit at 3-1.

Video: CHC@PIT: Heyward makes nice sliding, run-saving catch

HE SAID IT
"We could be sitting on 0-3 in this series just as well as we could be sitting 2-1. We're very fortunate. So we have to get the offensive mojo back." -- Maddon, on the Cubs' lackluster offense this series

UP NEXT
Left-hander Jose Quintana will get the start for the finale of a four-game series with the Pirates at PNC Park on Sunday at 12:35 p.m. CT. Quintana has lost his last two starts, allowing 10 earned runs on 12 hits over 11 1/3 innings. Right-hander Jameson Taillon will start for Pittsburgh.

Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Chicago Cubs, Tyler Chatwood, Ben Zobrist