Joe Maddon ejected as fiery Cubs come to life in beatdown of Bucs

by - Senior Writer -
After getting ejected, Cubs manager Joe Maddon went on the warpath against Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle. (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
After getting ejected, Cubs manager Joe Maddon went on the warpath against Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle. (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

PITTSBURGH — Perhaps, having their manager ejected was just what the Chicago Cubs (46-42) needed to break out a recent slump. Lighting the Pittsburgh Pirates (42-44) up on Independence Day, the Cubs produced plenty of fireworks at the plate in their beatdown of the Buccos. The Cubs avoided suffering a 4-game sweep by winning Thursday's series finale at PNC Park in a dominant fashion. Recording 15 hits, the Cubs were led by recent call-up Robel Garcia, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI and finished a double shy of the cycle in his first career big-league start. Slugger Kris Bryant showed out for the Cubs, too, as he went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and one RBI. Chicago won 11-3 and outscored Pittsburgh 7-0 after Maddon was ejected in the top of the fourth.

Ten of the Cubs' 15 hits were of the extra-base variety, including four home runs. Bryant incited the Cubs' productive afternoon with a 404-foot solo bomb to right in the top of the first that marked his 17th long ball of the season. Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. followed that up by tabbing his 8th dinger of 2019 in the second inning. Almora's solo jack was skied 438 feet out to straightaway center field. The Pirates were able to tie the Cubs at 2-2 in the bottom of the second. Jung Ho Kang plated a run with an RBI double and was later scored on a sacrifice fly. The Cubs quickly retook the lead, though, with catcher Willson Contreras powering out a 2-run blast in the top of the third. Contreras' 18th tater of the year plated Bryant, who hit a ground-rule double earlier in the frame.

The Pirates decreased the Cubs' lead to one run in the bottom of the third, as a pair of singles led to Josh Bell hitting a sacrifice fly that pushed a run across. However, the momentum abruptly swung completely in the direction of the Cubs in the ensuing inning, despite the fact that the Cubs did not score a single run in the fourth. Pirates starting pitcher Jordan Lyles threw a multitude of high, inside pitches in the early goings, and it led to Cubs shortstop Javier Baez complaining to home-plate umpire Joe West about it during his fourth-inning at-bat. Right after Baez complained, he was nearly beaned with a pitch that ricocheted off the knob of his bat.

Maddon became incensed at that point and barked at both West and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle about Lyles' slew of dangerous pitches. In typical West fashion, the no-nonsense umpire did not hesitate in ejecting Maddon, but Maddon surprisingly opted to direct all of his rage at Hurdle, who chirped at Maddon from the Pirates' dugout. As a result, Maddon stormed onto the field and had to be held back by Bryant and West as he attempted to confront Hurdle. Once he calmed down, Maddon exited the diamond and headed to the visiting locker room, and, from that point forward, the game belonged to the Cubs.

Scoring five runs on six hits, the Cubs garnered a commanding 6-run lead over the Bucs in the top of the fifth. Bryant led off his with second double of the day and was then scored on an RBI single off the bat of first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Following a subsequent single by Contreras, Lyles was yanked from the game, and reliever Clay Holmes entered and proceeded to get racked. Garcia, who was called up from the minors on Wednesday and started at second base on Thursday, registered a single off Holmes after hustling around the bases for a triple that served as his first major-league hit in the top of the third. Then, Holmes let a pitch get away from him, and it drilled Cubs third baseman David Bote in the helmet. Bote fell to the ground due to the hit by pitch, but he was able to shake it off and remain in the game.

The Pirates proceeded to tally two consecutive forceouts at the plate, but Holmes walked left fielder Kyle Schwarber with the bases loaded to force in a run after that. Baez capped off the fifth-inning scoring barrage with an RBI single to left that put the Cubs ahead by a score of 9-3, and, in the sixth, the Cubs continued to rake, with Rizzo hitting a leadoff triple for his second 3-bagger of 2019. Rizzo scored soon afterward on an RBI groundout from Contreras, and Garcia followed that up with his first MLB round-tripper. Skying a 416-foot homer to center field, Garcia put the Cubs up 11-3 and moved to within a double of hitting for the cycle.

Thereafter, the North Siders coasted to victory, with Cubs staring pitcher Jose Quintana producing a solid 7-inning outing, in which he struck out six en route to earning his second winning decision in a row. Rain fell off and on throughout the waning portion of the contest, but that did not dampen the spirits of the Cubs in their high-flying Fourth of July triumph. Garcia struck out swinging in his final plate appearance, preventing him from hitting for the cycle. Regardless, Garcia made a case for receiving regular playing time via his breakout performance. The 11-3 win snapped a 4-game losing streak for the Cubs, who moved into a tie with the Milwaukee Brewers (46-42) atop the National League Central standings.

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates
Jul 4, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago (46-42) 1 1 2 0 5 2 0 0 0 11 15 1
Pittsburgh (42-44) 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 0
W: Jose Quintana (6-7) L: Jordan Lyles (5-5)

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