Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (5/12/24): Cubs 5, Pirates 4 – Myocardial Infarctions Abound Late in Squeaker

The Cubs probably didn’t deserve to win this one, but perhaps the baseball gods finally had mercy after killing nearly every hard-hit ball by the visiting team in this series and game. After drawing six bases-loaded walks in one inning yesterday, a feat that should have led to a win, the Cubs were nearly done in by bad pitches on Sunday. In both cases, the bullpen was front and center.

Kyle Hendricks put up his best start of the season, going five one-run innings with five strikeouts and just two hits allowed. Though he issued four walks, it looked like he was being very careful to avoid the heart of the zone all afternoon. That didn’t work against Oneil Cruz, who homered on a sinker that didn’t quite get in on his hands enough, but you’ll take it when Hendricks was clean otherwise.

The offense looked like it wasn’t going to do enough to win, with Christopher Morel‘s two-run homer in the opening inning carrying the Cubs for most of the game. Even a three-run outburst in the 10th was barely enough cushion for Adbert Alzolay, who gave up a two-run homer to Connor Joe on the second pitch he threw. The former closer then walked Jack Suwinski before getting three outs via contact.

This was not an aesthetically pleasing series by any stretch, but every win looks the same when the lights are out. All that matters now is that the Cubs took two of three and can turn their attention to the Braves without having to wonder how in the hell they let another one slip away. (Box score)

Key Moment

With the score tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the 9th, Edward Olivares grounded to the left side and Nico Hoerner made a diving stop in the hole. Had the ball squirted through, Michael A. Taylor almost certainly would have scored the winning run. As it was, Héctor Neris gave up a pair of singles before falling behind and intentionally walking Andrew McCutchen and then going 3-1 on Cruz before coaxing a fly ball.

Even that routine out was a source of drama when it looked as though Pete Crow-Armstrong and Cody Bellinger had miscommunicated as to whose ball it was. Alas, this team doesn’t like to make it easy.

Why the Cubs Won

A little late power and more bad pitching from the Pirates fueled this one. They always say you want to score multiple runs in extras due to the Manfred Man, so Bellinger’s RBI single to lead off the 10th wasn’t going to be enough. It would have been nice for Bellinger to have avoided an unnecessary rundown to give Patrick Wisdom someone to drive in, but the solo shot was still very nice. Then a single sandwiched between a pair of walks loaded the bases.

Though it seemed like gravy at the time, the passed ball that put the score at 5-2 ended up being crucial. No lead seems safe with this bullpen right now, so the Cubs just need to keep scoring in bunches.

Stats That Matter

  • Hendricks had his best start of the season: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K
  • Wisdom was 3-for-4 and is now batting .314 with an 1.120 OPS
  • The Cubs drew six walks and struck out just three times

Bottom Line

A win is a win and that’s all you can ask for with all the injuries piling up. It was great to see Hendricks pitch well after putting up a 12.00 ERA over his first five starts, now we just all need to cross our fingers and hope Jameson Taillon really can go on Tuesday.

On Deck

Shōta Imanaga takes the bump in Atlanta for the first of three against the Braves at 6:20pm CT on Marquee, MLB Network (out-of-market only), and 670 The Score.

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