The Cubs welcomed the first-place Pirates to a soggy Wrigley Field on Tuesday night in a contest that was delayed over an hour by rain. Chicago’s offense exploded late and the home team buried Pittsburgh for a much-needed win.
Chicago native Jack Suwinski gave his team a lead in the 1st inning when he took Jameson Taillon deep for a solo home run. The Cubs answered back in a big way in the bottom of the frame when Ian Happ cracked a three-run homer to right field off of Luis Ortiz.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 14, 2023
Ji Hwan Bae had an RBI single in the top of the 2nd inning to cut the advantage to just one, but Taillon kept things right there until the 6th. Suwinski struck again at that point, hitting his second jack of the game to tie the score.
Matt Mervis put the North Siders back ahead for good in the bottom half with a run-scoring single to right, then the Cubs broke the game wide open in the bottom of the 7th against Yohan Ramirez. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Happ, who got hit by a pitch to force in a run. Dansby Swanson followed with an infield hit that brought in another tally and ended Ramirez’s night.
Cubs legend Rob Zastryzny took over and surrendered a two-run single to pinch-hitter Yan Gomes. Chicago did more damage to Rob Z in the 8th when Christopher Morel, in for Happ after the starter came out with right calf tightness, pounded the home team’s second three-run homer of the game. New bullpen addition Anthony Kay finished off the 11-3 victory in the 9th. (Box score)
The Cubs were able to break the game open in the 7th inning to ensure their bullpen would not be a factor, which is always a relief this season.
Why the Cubs Won
The starting pitcher put up a quality effort and the lineup was able to score late, which has been a real problem recently. Hitting a pair of three-run home runs was a very refreshing change as well.
Stats That Matter
- A solid effort from Taillon kept his team in the game Tuesday: 6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 4 K, and 2 BB.
- Happ had not hit a home run since May 5, now we hope he did not suffer an injury.
- Tucker Barnhart had a pair of singles for the first time in a long time.
- The Cubs had six infield hits, no doubt aided by the soggy conditions.
If the Cubs have any chance to get back in the race, they have to make hay against the teams ahead of them in the standings. This was a great start in that direction and no team in the National League Central is particularly scary, so it certainly isn’t an impossible task. Taillon appears to be at least competent recently which is a marked improvement.