Adam Frazier homers in 11th inning to top Cubs 2-1
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh’s pitchers delivered once again, and Adam Frazier rewarded them with one big swing.
Frazier hit a game-ending homer in the 11th inning, and the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Sunday for a split of their four-game series.
Josh Harrison grounded out and Adeiny Hechavarria struck out before Frazier drove a 3-0 pitch from Brandon Kintzler (1-3) deep to right. It was Frazier’s fifth homer of the season.
“It’s probably the most excited I’ve ever been going around the bases,” Frazier said. “It was pretty cool.”
The Cubs had a prime scoring chance against Richard Rodriguez (3-2) in the top half of the inning, but came up empty. Addison Russell was picked off third by catcher Elias Diaz, and Albert Almora Jr. struck out looking with the bases loaded with two out.
“We tried that play because the situation dictated it,” Diaz said about the pickoff. “(Wilson Contreras) showed bunt and (Russell) was waiting for the bunt and was halfway (down the third-base line). So, that’s why we called the play, and we executed. It felt great. It saved a run. It was beautiful.”
NL Central-leading Chicago managed just one run in each game of the series, but took the first two behind strong pitching performances by Jon Lester and Cole Hamels. It was the fewest runs allowed by Pittsburgh in a four-game series since it also allowed four against St. Louis from July 30-Aug. 2, 1992.
“We have to get our offense straightened out,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I can’t make any excuses for it. There are none. We just have to get better. But we did pitch. We played great defense. We did a lot of really good things. We just didn’t hit the baseball.”
The Cubs lost two straight for the first time since July 27-28.
Chicago jumped in front on Kyle Schwarber’s 22nd homer off Jameson Taillon in the second. Schwarber belted a ball just foul past the pole in left field before driving the next pitch into the last row beyond right field.
Schwarber also connected during Friday night’s 1-0 victory.
“That was a different series, that’s for sure,” Schwarber said. “The pitching was on all four games. You tip your hat to their side, to what they were able to do the last two days. All four days. What did we score? Four runs in four days, and won two games. Tip the hat to their team, and you obviously tip the hat to our pitchers too.”
Gregory Polanco hit a tying RBI double for Pittsburgh in the sixth. Carl Edwards Jr. then replaced Jose Quintana with runners on second and third and no outs, and wiggled out of the jam.
Quintana allowed four hits, struck out four and walked two. The veteran left-hander was just 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA in his previous four starts.
Pittsburgh had a chance to win it in the ninth after Pedro Strop walked Hechavarria and hit Frazier to load the bases. But Maddon employed a five-man infield and Corey Dickerson grounded into a 4-9-3 double play, ending the inning.
Taillon struck out eight in six innings. He allowed five hits and walked three.
“Jameson had to roll up his sleeves,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The numbers are good. The results are really good, but there was work to be done today by him.”