The Pittsburgh Pirates got their first win of the season and even the series against the Chicago Cubs behind a great pitching performance from Wandy Rodriguez. The Pirates blanked the Cubs 3-0.
Rodriguez pitched 6 2/3 innings giving up two hits while striking out six. On a cold night in Pittsburgh Rodriguez was on fire having all his pitches working, just baffling the Cubs hitters. Alberto Gonzalez led off the Cubs’ third inning with a single, and Rodriguez’s response was to retire the next 12 batters.
The game remained scoreless until the fourth inning when Andrew McCutchen would walk to the plate with one on. He would hit a double down the left field line bringing home Garrett Jones who got on via a base hit. McCutchen would later score when Gaby Sanchez hit a ground ball past the drawn in Starlin Castro.
The only trouble the Bucs faced to their lead happened in the seventh inning. Rodriguez would load the bases when he hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch, Alfonso Soriano would single and then he hit Welington Castillo with the pitch. Rodriguez hit three batters all of last season.
Then ensued an epic 10-pitch battle with Brent Lillibridge. It ended when Rodriguez froze Lillibridge on a back-door 3-and-2 curveball for a called strike three. That would be all for Rodriguez as he would give away to Tony Watson.
Watson preserved Rodriguez’s clean line by fighting back from a 3-and-0 count to retire Gonzalez on a fly to shallow center.
Up 3-0 in the ninth, it was time for the Pirates to show off their new closer Jason Grilli. Grilli had an easy inning striking out two of the three batters he faced.
The Pirates look to take the rubber match tomorrow afternoon. A 12:30 first pitch.