The Cubs hoped to extend an actual winning streak against the Pirates Friday afternoon to climb higher in the draft rankings. Thanks to a big effort from a couple of rookies, Chicago was indeed able to make it four consecutive victories.
Michael Hermosillo drove in three of the Cubs’ runs with a two-run single in the 2nd and a very long solo homer in the 4th left him just a triple shy of a cycle. Austin Romine and Frank Schwindel also had run-scoring hits as Chicago built a 5-0 edge.
Alec Mills was very sharp early and kept the Pirates off the board through four innings. That did not last, however, as a pair of solo home runs in the 5th got Pittsburgh back to a 5-2 deficit.
A series of errors in the 6th inning set the stage for a Pirates comeback. Patrick Wisdom missed a line drive and Sergio Alcántara had a throwing error on a possible double play to open the door for Anthony Alford. He did not miss the opportunity and hit a long two-run homer, his second of the game, to tie the score at 5.
Schwindel came right back for the Cubs in the bottom of the frame and launched a game-winning solo home run to left field against former Cub Shelby Miller. Trevor Megill, Codi Heuer, and Rowan Wick shut down Pittsburgh the rest of the day at a soggy Wrigley Field to pull out the win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs bullpen was able to outduel the Pirates relief corps. That is not something that has been often said of Chicago’s ‘pen men in the second half. Offensive contributions from Hermosillo and Alcántara also were valuable Friday.
Schwindel has shown no signs of slowing down from his Rookie of the Month award in August and continues to rake. His home run came immediately after the Pirates had tied the score and halted any momentum the road team had.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 3, 2021
Stats That Matter
- Mills deserved a better fate as he pitched pretty well: 5.2 IP, 5 R, 2 ER, 7 H, 6 K, and 0 BB.
- Ian Happ added three more hits Friday as he gets his OPS near the .700 mark.
- Alcántara had a hit and walked three times as he stays hot.
The Cubs’ rebuilding roster is starting to find some footing of late. Of course, they are playing other rebuilding teams, but winning streaks are always fun no matter what the circumstances. It’s also uplifting to see young players like Hermosillo, Alcántara, and even Happ start to find some success.
Chicago looks to take the series Saturday at 1:20pm CT. Kyle Hendricks faces off against a yet-to-be-named Pirate starter while Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score provide coverage.