Cole outduels Lester as Pirates finally beat Cubs


by - Senior Editor -
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<span style=Photo by Jason Getz / USATODAY">
Photo by Jason Getz / USATODAY

CHICAGO - Gerrit Cole gave up just three hits, and Jung-ho Kang drove in both runs as the Pirates defeated the Cubs 2-1 to salvage game three of the series for the Pirates on Sunday afternoon. The loss dropped Chicago to 27-9 while the Pirates improved to 19-17. Chicago came into the game with the best start of any team since the 1984 Tigers started 305, and the win was the first by Pittsburgh this season against the Cubs in six tries.

Cole (4-3, 3.00) pitched eight shutout innings and held the Cubs to just three hits on the day while striking out seven. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his 11th save of the season.

Jon Lester suffered the loss even though he had a no-hitter through sixth innings. In the seventh inning, Starling Marte singled to right for the first hit of the game, and Kang doubled to deep right center to score Marte. It would be the only run the Pirates would need. The run would force Lester (4-2, 1.88) from the game after pitching 6.2 innings and giving up just two hits and one runs while striking out nine. Despite the loss, the performance lowered Lester's ERA to fifth in the National League at 1.88.

Kang added a big insurance run in the ninth with a solo home run off of Cubs closer Hector Rondon.

In the bottom of the inning, Anthony Rizzo hit a sac fly in the ninth to cut the lead to one, but Ben Zobrist grounded out with Jason Heyward at second base to end the game.

The Cubs will have Monday off, and then begin a three-game set against the Brewers in Milwaukee on Tuesday when Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.03) will face righty Chase Anderson (1-5, 6.11).

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