PITTSBURGH – The score might have been a little different, but the way the game went down was just about the same.
The Cubs were able to get a lead on Saturday, watched their starting pitcher struggle, then failed to hit the rest of the way in an 8-2 loss. A similar scenario played out on Sunday afternoon, and that wasn’t a good thing for the visitors.
A 1-0 lead on a Javier Baez homer in the second didn’t even last till the bottom half of the inning when the Pirates got three quick runs off starter Trevor Williams. He’d allow five runs in 3 1/3 innings, including three to opposing pitcher JT Brubaker, and the Cubs’ offense wouldn’t respond.
The 7-1 loss followed a familiar yet unwanted pattern for the Cubs this weekend against the Pirates as the team fell under .500 for the first time this season.
The offense remains an issue through nine games, just as it was late in the 2020 season. They managed just five hits on the afternoon and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
“We just weren’t able to capitalize on some opportunities with runners in scoring position; the first time we haven’t done really good job, first series so far, that we haven’t done a really good job of that, in my opinion,” said manager David Ross. “Some free runs that felt like they were out there at times that we didn’t quite take advantage of.
“That’s baseball, they made some pitches when they had to.”
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Williams wasn’t able to do that to the level that was needed. Dustin Fowler’s RBI double and Brubaker’s two-run single gave the Pirates the lead for good in the second inning. The pitcher got another RBI in the third on a ground out then Colin Moran singled in the fourth to bring Williams’ day to an end.
Those runs were plenty to give the Pirates another win over the Cubs that followed an unplesant script for the visitors.