The Pittsburgh Pirates went into Sunday looking to avoid being swept by the Chicago Cubs. However, they were unable to do so as the Cubs prevailed 4-2 Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.
The Pirates have to be disappointed with their effort this homestand. With six games against the two bottom teams in the National League Central Division, three against the Cubs and three against the Houston Astros, the Bucs were only able to win two games.
Starter Jeff Locke put in a good effort, going six strong innings while giving up two earned runs and striking out six. He also didn’t walk anybody.
Locke received some early offense by the Bucs when Andrew McCutchen hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead. The homer was McCutchen’s 25th of the season and first in nearly a month.
The score would remain 1-0 until the fourth inning when the Cubs hit two solo homers of their own to take a 2-1 lead. Josh Vitters hit his second of the season and Anthony Recker hit his first major league homer.
The Pirates offense got a spark from Brock Holt when he led off the seventh inning with a triple. Holt went 3-for-5 today and has 10 hits in his last five games. Holt would score to tie the game at two on a balk by Cubs pitcher James Russell.
The tie didn’t last long as the Cubs scored two in the next half inning off Bucco reliever Jason Grilli. Grilli would last only 1/3 of an inning, giving up three hits and two runs. The big hit, a two-run homer to center, came off the bat of Alfonso Soriano.
The Pirates had their chance in the ninth as they loaded the bases with only one out. But they were unable to score as Gaby Sanchez struck out and Pedro Alvarez flied out to left to end the game.
While the Pirates are having a tough time winning games they still remain two games out of a wild card spot. They will look to get back on the winning track when they face the Cincinnati Reds Monday night in the opener of a three-game series in southwestern Ohio.