Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (8/2/20): Cubs 2, Pirates 1 F/11- Bullpen Solid in Extra-Inning Win

The Cubs aimed for a sweep of the Pirates Sunday at an overcast Wrigley Field, but it wasn’t going to be easy. The troublesome bullpen actually performed well for once and Chicago had a successful first experience with baseball’s new extra-innings rule.

Kevin Newman gave his team an early lead with a solo homer off of Jon Lester in the 1st. Lester had almost 50 pitches through two innings, but he settled in after that and went six strong. Pirates spot starter Steven Brault mowed down the Cubs in his three perfect frames.

Willson Contreras broke up the perfecto with a double against reliever Chad Kuhl in the 5th and Kyle Schwarber followed with a rocket off the wall in center. Contreras blew through a stop sign at third and knocked the ball from catcher Jacob Stallings at the plate to score the tying run on the play.

Both bullpens held things there into the 9th, when a rain delay paused the action for 64 minutes. The Cubs weren’t able to score once play resumed, so they got their first look at extra innings in 2020.

Schwarber nailed Stallings at the plate in the top of the 10th and the Cubs kept the Pirates off the board, but the home team failed to cash in with a runner on third with no outs in the bottom half. Javy Báez finally put a stop to the madness with the game-winning single to score the free runner in the 11th. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Won

The bullpen kept the Pirates off the board and several excellent defensive plays in extra innings were enough to give the Cubs a win.

Key Moment

Báez nailed Newman trying to advance to third on a ground ball in the 11th inning. The Pirates failed to get a runner into scoring position the rest of the frame.

Stats That Matter

  • Lester has only allowed one run in 11 innings in 2020: 6 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 4 K, and 1 BB. All four of his strikeouts were of the looking variety.
  • Casey Sadler, Dan Winkler, Ryan Tepera, and Jeremy Jeffress combined to keep the Bucs off the board: 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 K, and 2 BB.

Bottom Line

The Cubs are making the most of this crazy season so far with a league-best 7-2 record. No idea what the rest of this year looks like, but it’s a good place to be.

On Deck

The Cubs begin a four-game home and home set with the Royals at 7:15pm CT on Monday in Chicago. Alec Mills and Danny Duffy are the starters in a game airing on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score

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