Cubs offense goes quiet again in loss to the Pirates as Brewers trim lead to half-game

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs beats the throw of Jose Osuna #36 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) for a single as Josh Bell #55 makes a leaning catch during the sixth inning at Wrigley Field on September 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The call was overturned from the original call of out, to safe after video review. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – This time, the Cubs couldn’t even get a solo homer.

That would have been better than the offensive performance they had on Tuesday night against the Pirates, as the visitor’s pitching shut down the home club’s bats for a second-straight night this week.

Because of it, the Cubs are holding onto to the slimmest of margins in the National League Central.

Pittsburgh’s 6-0 win over Joe Maddon’s team is the second-straight loss this week to their division rival, and the 12-4 victory by the Brewers over the Cardinals in St. Louis has the Cubs’ division lead down to a half-game.

This performance came after the Cubs hit exactly one solo homer in their last five games against Pittsburgh.

Chris Archer became the latest Pirates’ pitcher to find his groove at Wrigley Field, throwing six shutout innings with nine strikeouts compared to just two walks in six innings. The Cubs would manage just five hits on the evening and left seven men on base.

Mike Montgomery couldn’t duplicate his performance from a week ago against the Diamondbacks as Pittsburgh got to him quickly on Tuesday night. Pablo Reyes, who had two RBIs in the final three innings on Monday, got things going for the Pirates with a three-run homer to left in the second inning. Francisco Cervelli, who had a two-run homer on Monday, doubled in another run in the third.

He would drive in another run in the fifth on a ground out, bringing home Adam Frazier, who doubled off Montgomery before he was pulled to start the inning. Jorge De La Rosa walked in another run in the sixth to finish Pittsburgh’s scoring for the evening.

Meanwhile the Cubs’ offense only got one runner to third all night, and only got a runner to second one other time. It’s the wrong time for the team’s offense to struggle, and not finding it soon could lead to a loss of the lead in the NL Central.