October 7, 2015
MLB Wildcard Recap: Cubs Hold Off Pirates In Extras
By DANIEL M. COHEN
Pittsburgh — After a wild and windy night at PNC Park, the Chicago Cubs found themselves one step closer to the World Series. The Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-0, in the National League wild-card game Wednesday night. Chicago will face St. Louis in a best-of-five division series beginning Friday.
The Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with help from two of baseball’s best young players: rookie Kris Bryant and second-year star Jorge Soler. Bryant lined a double into right field that scored Dexter Fowler with the game’s first run, and Soler followed with a two-run homer to left that put the Cubs up by two early.
Chicago tacked on another run in the second inning on an RBI single from Starlin Castro that drove in pinch runner Quintin Berry from second base. The hits kept coming for the Cubs, who had eight before Pirates starter Gerrit Cole could record his 12th out of the game. But Cole settled down after that and finished with 11 strikeouts over six innings of work.
Fowler was responsible
The Chicago Cubs are in the postseason as a Wild Card. It was an up-and-down game that ended with a win for the Cubs, but it wasn’t easy.
In a season where Kris Bryant was the young star, it was Javier Baez who came through for the Cubs. He came through in the clutch and won the game for Chicago.
The Pittsburgh Pirates put together a good performance, but ultimately fell short in their quest to win the NL Wild Card Game. Gerrit Cole on the mound allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out eight.
The game began reasonably well for Pittsburgh. The Pirates got two runs off Jake Arrieta to take an early lead. They were able to stay on top until things changed in the fifth inning.
Using his power, Anthony Rizzo homered to bring in Jason Heyward and cut into Pittsburgh’s lead. It was a 2-1 score at that point, but then things got interesting.
The Pirates appeared to get out of trouble when they pulled Cole after he walked Ben Zobrist with two runners on base. Tony Watson came in and struck out Addison Russell on three pitches, with Russell looking at strike three to end the inning. But Russell checked his
The Pirates and Cubs were involved in a hotly contested Wild Card game that went into extra innings. In the end, it was the Cubs who held on to win it. They will advance to face the Cardinals in the NLDS. The Pirates’ season comes to an end and they will have to wait until next year.
It was a game that had just about everything. There were home runs, there were clutch hits, there were great plays on defense and there were some solid pitching performances. It was one of the most exciting games of the season and it lived up to every bit of its billing.
The Pirates and Cubs battled back-and-forth all night long. No lead was safe as both teams seemed to be able to put up runs at will. The fact that this game went into extra innings is really no surprise considering how evenly matched these two teams are.
Both teams had aces on the mound but both pitchers ended up leaving with no decision. Gerrit Cole started for Pittsburgh and was spectacular once again. He pitched six strong innings and only allowed two runs on four hits while striking out seven batters and walking none. He threw 95 pitches, 68 for strikes, before turning it over to his bullpen for the final three innings.
Jake Arrieta started
The NL Wildcard Game was a great game. It wasn’t always pretty, and it didn’t always make sense, but when the Cubs prevailed over the Pirates in 13 innings at PNC Park Wednesday night, 4-0, the result felt like the perfect showcase for Major League Baseball’s new second wild card team.
It was a game that showcased everything that’s great about baseball. There were no timeouts, no stoppages in play. Players could have been on the field for seven hours and they still wouldn’t have needed Gatorade. The game featured two of the most exciting young infields in baseball, with Javier Baez and Kris Bryant starting for Chicago and Josh Harrison and Jung Ho Kang starting for Pittsburgh. It had a pair of postseason veterans in Jake Arrieta and Francisco Liriano matching wits on the mound. And it had one of the most exciting plays in baseball: an intensity-filled inning ending double play with two runners on base in the bottom of the 13th inning to clinch a playoff victory for one team, while sending the other home reflecting on what might have been.
The Cubs’ double play turned out to be a fitting end to an odd game that often felt like it was being pulled apart by opposing forces, both inside itself
It’s one of the most exciting finishes in postseason history, and it’s only the wild-card game. The Chicago Cubs pulled off a dramatic 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night to advance to the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cubs put themselves in position to win with a three-run eighth inning, but they nearly gave it away in the bottom half of the inning when Pirates pinch hitter Sean Rodriguez blasted a ball toward center field that would have cleared the bases and given Pittsburgh a lead. Instead, Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler somehow made this catch:
I don’t know what he was doing in left field, but you can’t blame Steve Pearce for not getting a good jump on the ball. He probably thought it was gone too.
So that was pretty much all she wrote for Chicago, as Hector Rondon came in for a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close it out.
That’s now four consecutive playoff losses for Pittsburgh, as they fell just short once again after three straight NL wild card berths. At least they were able to send Andrew McCutchen out with some more highlights:
It may seem hard to believe, but this is actually Chicago’s first postseason series victory since the 2008 NLDS
The Cubs defeated the Pirates, 4-0, in 13 innings of the National League Wild Card Game Wednesday night at PNC Park. The game was delayed by rain for an hour and 45 minutes to begin the top of the 10th inning.
The Cubs advance to play the Cardinals in the NLDS starting on Friday night.
Pittsburgh used six pitchers and Chicago used five.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta pitched six innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out 11 batters. He was replaced by Pedro Strop after throwing 116 pitches.
Pirates starter Gerrit Cole went five innings, allowing two hits, three walks and striking out eight batters. He threw 97 pitches before being pulled for reliever Tony Watson.
Travis Wood came on in relief for Chicago in the seventh inning, and he allowed a leadoff single by Jung Ho Kang. John Jaso then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Kang to second base with one out. However, Wood struck out Jordy Mercer and Starling Marte looking before getting Andrew McCutchen to ground into a forceout to end the threat.
In the eighth inning, Cubs manager Joe Maddon brought in Travis Wood again to face lefty pinch hitter Sean Rodriguez with two outs and the bases clear
The Chicago Cubs just keep finding ways to win.
The Cubs are heading to the National League Division Series after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 in 13 innings Wednesday, clinching a 3-1 series win. At one point during the game, an ESPN camera caught Cubs manager Joe Maddon using a toy tractor to explain a defensive strategy to his players.
The Cubs will now face the St. Louis Cardinals in their best-of-five series starting Friday at Busch Stadium.
After the game at Wrigley Field, Maddon told reporters he was just trying to inject some levity into the team’s mood.