Feb 27, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco (62) smiles after he hit a solo home run during the first inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates: Gregory Polanco's Debut Spoiled In Loss To Cubs

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The long awaited debut of prized prospect Gregory Polanco nearly overshadowed the fact that the Pittsburgh Pirates had a game to play Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.

The Cubs scored a pair of runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings to break open a 3-3 game en route to a 7-3 win, spoiling the debut of Polanco.

Polanco finished the night going 1 for 5 with an opposite-field single in the third inning on a nice piece of hitting. He also popped out twice, once with runner on base, grounded out and struck out. The rookie also saw a fly ball in the gap glance off his wrist, which would have been a tough play, but one he likely makes more times than not.

The good news is the rookie looked like he belonged in a big league uniform.

While that was the good news for the Pirates, the game wasn’t as the Bucs dropped another games they needed to win against a bad team.

The Cubs struck first when Anthony Rizzo blasted a two-run homer, his 13th of the season, off Pirates starter Francisco Liriano in the first inning.

The Bucs got that right back in the third when Andrew McCutchen smacked his ninth homer of the year, plating Polanco – who had singled for his first MLB hit – to tie the game at two.

Liriano was forced to leave the game after throwing one pitch in the fourth with what was reported as discomfort in his left side. The Cubs then quickly took the lead of Jeanmar Gomez when Darwin Barney hit a two-out double down the left-field line that scored Rizzo to make it a 3-2 game.

The Pirates answered when Jordy Mercer scored on a Josh Harrison sac fly in the fourth to tie the game at three, but Chicago touched up Pirates reliever Casey Sadler.

Sadler retired the first four batters he faced but issued a one-out walk to Starlin Castro in the sixth and followed up by hitting Justin Ruggiano. Pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena made Sadler pay by smacking a  two-run double to right center to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead.

Chicago added two more in the seventh off Sadler on a Rizzo RBI double and Castro RBI single.

The Pirates had chances late in the game but couldn’t execute offensively.

Starling Marte led off the sixth with an infield single but was doubled up on an infield popup when he either lost sight of the ball or once again lost focus on the basepaths.

In the seventh the Bucs had two on with two outs but pinch hitter Ike Davis popped up to end the inning. Then in the eighth the Pirates once again had two on with no out but Mercer struck out swinging and Clint Barmes hit into an inning-ending double play.

The Pirates and Cubs will meet in the third game of their four-game series Wednesday night at PNC Park. Brandon Cumpton (1-2, 6.51 ERA) will get the ball for the Bucs. He is scheduled to be opposed by the Cubs’ Jason Hammel (6-3, 2.53).

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Tags: Francisco Liriano Gregory Polanco Pittsburgh Pirates

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