Cubs shut out Pirates on wet, wild night at Wrigley

by - Senior Writer -
Lefty Jose Quintana struck out 11 as part of a solid outing. (Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports)
Lefty Jose Quintana struck out 11 as part of a solid outing. (Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO, Ill. — Rain put a damper on the rubber match between the Chicago Cubs (4-8) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (6-5) at Wrigley Field on Thursday, but it did not prevent the Cubs from coming away with a win for their first series victory of the season. Breaking a scoreless tie via a 2-run seventh, the Cubs won a race against Mother Nature, with the game entering a rain delay following the conclusion of the seventh frame and resuming approximately an hour later. With light rain still falling in the eighth and ninth, the Pirates never seriously threatened the Cubs' lead, and Chicago tabbed a 2-0 victory.

The 2-0 win for Chicago was affected by thunderstorms in the Chicago area. The contest started 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled in an effort to beat the rain. Prior to the lightning-induced delay, Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove saw an otherwise solid start marred in the seventh. Cubs center fielder Jason Heyward incited the Cubs with a knock to shallow left field that a group of Pirates defenders in pursuit were unable to catch. Heyward could have potentially been credited with a double, but the official scoring listed the play as an error. Second baseman Daniel Descalso then plated Heyward with an RBI single. Descalso went 2-for-3 on the night.

Cubs catcher Victor Caratini, who was the other Chicago hitter to go 2-for-3, proceeded to drill a double in the gap between right and center that brought Descalso home to put the Cubs ahead 2-0 and chase Musgrove from the game. The Cubs had other opportunities to score prior to the seventh, with Chicago leaving six runners in total stranded on base. A strange double play ruined a scoring opportunity for the North Siders in the sixth. Shortstop Javier Baez hit a pitch directly down into the dirt at his feet, and the ball bounced into fair territory. Right fielder Ben Zobrist attempted to come home from third on the play, although, with runners on second and third, he did not have to do so, and he was tagged out. Interestingly, Baez never left the batter's box, so he was tagged out for an inning-ending double play. However, Baez attempted to convince the umpires that the ball deflected off his foot prior to hitting the dirt and should have therefore been ruled foul. The play was not reviewable, though, so the inning ended with the game still tied 0-0.

In the inning prior, another strange instance took place when Cubs manager Joe Maddon got ejected by home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook for nothing more than a casual conversation. Maddon disagreed with a questionable strike call from the dugout and was warned by Estabrook that he would be thrown out if he came onto the field to argue the call. A defiant Maddon then very casually sauntered onto the field while calmly expressing his frustration concerning Estabrook's strike zone and was subsequently ejected for one of the most amicable ejections in baseball history.

All in all, the Cubs were able to overcame the weirdness of the cold, wet evening in the Windy City and pull out a 2-0 victory. Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana dominated in his 7-inning outing by striking out 11 as part of his first winning decision of the season. Chicago will remain home this weekend to battle the Los Angeles Angels (7-6) in a 3-game interleague affair.

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