Chatwood disappoints in return to rotation as Cubs fall to Pirates

by - Senior Writer -
Tyler Chatwood doomed the Cubs by giving up three runs in the second inning. (Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Tyler Chatwood doomed the Cubs by giving up three runs in the second inning. (Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

PITTSBURGH — As improbable as it may seem, for the third consecutive game, the Chicago Cubs mustered just one run by way of a solo homer. After winning two 1-0 contests with the Pittsburgh Pirates in a row, the Cubs saw their luck run out on Saturday night, as the Buccos managed to break their scoreless drought. With Cubs pitcher Tyler Chatwood filling in on the mound for the injured Mike Montgomery, Chicago was essentially done in by a three-run second inning produced by the Pirates, as the Cubs fell by a final score of 3-1.

With Montgomery placed on the disabled list on Thursday because of a shoulder injury, Chatwood was thrust back into the starting rotation on short notice. Following the Cubs' acquisition of ace Cole Hamels in late July, Chatwood was relegated to the bullpen, and Saturday's appearance marked his first start since then. It did not prove to be a positive outing for Chatwood, as he lasted just two innings and collected the loss to fall to 4-6.

The Pirates pushed three runs across in the bottom of the second to take a 3-0 lead and surpass the two-run total that the Cubs had garnered over the course of the entire series up to that point. Chatwood walked the first two batters and then gave up an RBI double to Adam Frazier. Thereafter, Colin Moran drove in a run on a fielder's choice groundout, and Adeiny Hechavarria next made it 3-0 by hitting a sacrifice fly.

Veteran Cub Ben Zobrist batted leadoff for Chicago on the evening, and he went 2-4, making him the lone Cub to tally multiple hits in the contest. Zobrist provided the Cubs with their only run of the matchup on a solo home run to right field in the top of the fourth, which served as Zobrist's ninth homer of the season.

Excluding the Zobrist dinger, Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove dominated the Cubs' batting order in a winning decision that improved his record to 5-7. Pitching seven innings of five-hit ball, Musgrove struck out seven and issued zero walks. The Cubs had a chance to get to Musgrove in the fifth, when they sported men on first and third with one out. However, Musgrove remained composed and garnered a strikeout and a flyout in the next two at-bats to neutralize the scoring threat.

All-Star Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez sat down the Cubs in short order in the top of the ninth to collect his 27th save and close out the 3-1 Pittsburgh win. Having left 46 runners stranded through three games of their four-game set with the Pirates (62-62), the Cubs (71-51) have struggled mightily at the plate in the divisional series and are fortunate to have taken two of three from the Buccos.

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