Cubs hit trio of lengthy home runs, secure 3-game sweep of Pirates


by - Senior Writer -
By swatting a 2-run shot on Sunday, Jason Heyward became the sixth Cub to reach the 15-homer plateau this season. (Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)
By swatting a 2-run shot on Sunday, Jason Heyward became the sixth Cub to reach the 15-homer plateau this season. (Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Earning their first sweep since early June, the Chicago Cubs (50-43) became the first National League Central team to reach the 50-win mark by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates (44-48) on Sunday. The Cubs capped off the 3-game series by overcoming a 3-1 deficit and winning 8-3, thanks in large part to the three home runs hit by the North Siders at Wrigley Field on the afternoon. Outscoring the Pirates 7-0 following the top of the fourth, the Cubs came through under pressure and swept the Buccos as a result.

Critical 2-out hits were a mainstay of the Cubs' victory, and Robel Garcia garnered the first one of the day when he put the Cubs up 1-0 with a 2-out RBI double in the bottom of the second. Plating Anthony Rizzo from third, Garcia smacked his first double as a Cub to deep right field off Pirates starter Trevor Williams. Cubs starter Jose Quintana endured his only woeful inning soon afterward, as the Pirates pushed three runs across in the top of the third. Quintana gave up three consecutive 1-out singles, including an RBI base knock from Bryan Reynolds. Also in the top half of the third, Starling Marte recorded a sacrifice fly, and Jung Ho Kang tallied an RBI double.

Quintana took matters into his own hands when cutting into the Pirates' lead in the bottom of the fourth. Pulling the Cubs to within a run of the Bucs, Quintana slapped an opposite-field RBI single with two outs. Garcia hit his second double of the game a few at-bats prior to Quintana's plate appearance, and the Pirates then opted to intentionally walk David Bote in order to bring Quintana to the plate. However, Quintana spoiled the Pirates' plan for garnering an easy out by scoring Garcia with a base knock to right.

Williams began to unravel in the bottom of the fifth, a half-inning that resulted in the Cubs retaking the lead. Kris Bryant hit a single and proceeded to reach third on a base hit by Rizzo. Next, Victor Caratini ushered Bryant home with a sacrifice fly, and Jason Heyward then put the Cubs in front via a 2-run homer. With a 410-foot rainmaker to right-center, Heyward became the sixth Cub to accrue 15 long balls on the season. The Cubs currently boast more players with 15 home runs to their names than any other team in the majors.

Heyward's dinger was the first of three taters clubbed by the Cubs, with all three of them coming at the expense of Williams. In the bottom of the sixth, Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber went yard on back-to-back pitches, thereby building up Chicago's lead to four runs. Almora stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter and registered his ninth round-tripper of 2019 with a 423-foot solo bomb to left that nearly carried out onto Waveland Avenue. On the very next pitch, Schwarber skied a 437-foot moonshot to right for his 19th homer of the year.

Thereafter, Javier Baez took Williams for a single, and Williams was subsequently removed from the game. In the next at-bat, Baez judged a bloop single off the bat of Bryant perfectly and made it all the way to third base on the play. Rizzo then earned an RBI by enabling Baez to score on a sacrifice fly that put the Cubs ahead by the eventual final score of 8-3. Quintana struck out four in his six innings of work and received the winning decision. The 3-game affair served as the Cubs' first series victory and sweep since they won all three games of a home series against the St. Louis Cardinals (46-45) five weeks ago.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs
Jul 14, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh (44-48) 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 9 0
Chicago (50-43) 0 1 0 1 3 3 0 0 - 8 13 0
W: Jose Quintana (7-7) L: Trevor Williams (3-3)

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