PITTSBURGH -- Saturday's matchup between the Cubs and Pirates started out as a back and forth battle with the Cubs leading twice but turned into the Pirates having complete control after a grand slam late in the game. The Pirates won with a dominating performance of 12-6 as the Cubs become more and more thankful for the upcoming All-Star Break to break the recent negative performances.
The Pirates took the opener in the series on Friday night, but the Cubs came back with early with a vengeance as
Ben Zobrist hit a two run homer to put the Cubs ahead 2-0 in the 1st. Jon Lester struggled in the 2nd inning and Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch while the bases were loaded whiched scored a run and Willson Contreras had a throwing error to score Sean Rodriguez. Lester struck out two to finally get out of the inning, but not before the damage had been done. The Pirates led going into the 3rd inning with a score of 3-2.
Anthony Rizzo led off the 3rd inning with a triple and Contreras got his second hit of the night to tie the game at 3. Javy Baez turned on his speed as he hit an infield single to score Contreras from second base, putting the Cubs back ahead 4-3. McCutchen tied the game back at four with one swing of his bat as he homered to left in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Three batters later Rodriguez gave the lead to the Pirates with one swing of his bat as he homered putting the Pirates ahead 5-4.
Back to back doubles by Bryant and Rizzo started the 4th inning and tied the game once again at 5. The Pirates took the lead right back as McCutchen drove in two runs to put the score at 7-5. Rookie Josh Bell then hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th that put the Pirates ahead 11-5. Jordy Mercer immediately followed up with a home run of his own to put the Cubs behind 12-5.
The Cubs were able to get a run back in the 6th inning, but still trailed 12-6 going into the 7th inning. They were unable to turn the game back around in their favor as they have lost two straight in the series to the Pirates.
Rizzo was a homer away from hitting for a cycle and Jason Heyward had an impressive three hits on the day.
Veteran John Lackey returns to the pitcher’s mound against Jonathon Niese as the Cubs and Pirates face off once again on Sunday night right before the All-Star break.
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