Bullpen blows another lead as Cubs rally past Pirates, who lose 8th straight | TribLIVE.com

2022-09-24 04:58:51 By : Mr. Dean Lin

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The Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen blues continued, once again showing that no lead is safe this September.

After Wil Crowe blew a two-run lead by giving up three runs in the sixth inning and Yohan Ramirez allowed the go-ahead run in the eighth.

Even so, the Pirates still had a chance to win.

Cal Mitchell went down swinging with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and the Chicago Cubs escaped with a 6-5 win over the Pirates Friday night before an announced crowd of 11,987 at PNC Park.

It was the eighth consecutive loss for the Pirates, who are one shy of matching their season-high nine-game losing streak from June 7-14.

“We’ve been really inconsistent over this stretch,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Because of it, we’ve had some games where we’ve had some leads and given them back. It’s something we definitely have to clean up, not only in the short term but in the long term.”

The Pirates got an early edge, as their leadoff batter scored for the Pirates in each of the first three innings.

Cruz drew a walk, then stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher P.J. Higgins. That put Cruz in position to score on a single to center by Reynolds for a 1-0 lead.

Ian Happ led off the second with a double to left-center and Patrick Wisdom followed by blasting Bryse Wilson’s 1-1 slider 422 feet to left for his 24th home run and a 2-1 Cubs lead.

Jack Suwinski started the bottom of the second by sending Javier Assad’s 2-0 fastball into the right field seats for his 17th home run, a 387-foot shot that tied the game at 2-2. It was Suwinski’s third home run in his past four home games and 14th homer at PNC Park this season. Suwinski drew walks in his final three at bats.

“Sometimes, when you get a homer or get a hit, it kind of relieves a little bit of pressure,” Shelton said. “Jack likes hitting in this ballpark.”

Reynolds reached on a throwing error by second baseman Esteban Quiroz to start the third, then scored on Mitchell’s double down the right field line for a 3-2 Pirates lead. Kevin Newman followed with a double to score Mitchell to make it 4-2.

Crowe struggled his first appearance since giving up a home run to Aaron Judge and a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in blowing a four-run lead in a 9-8 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

Only 14 of Crowe’s 30 pitches went for strikes, and he was charged with three runs on one hit with three walks and a wild pitch. After walking pinch hitter Franmil Reyes with the bases loaded to cut the Pirates’ lead to 4-3, Crowe was pulled for lefty Manny Banuelos.

Crowe admitted that he’s trying to figure out how to snap out of a slump.

“It’s the first time I’ve done this,” Crowe said of his reliever role after starting the past two seasons. “I feel good. I throw one pitch, and it feels great. The results on it, the movement on it and everything, location, seems to be where it should be. Then the next one, it feels the same but doesn’t do the same stuff. It doesn’t end up the same. I’m trying to figure that out, as well.”

Banuelos walked Zack McKinstry to score Higgins and tie the game at 4-4. The Cubs took a 5-4 lead on an infield single to Quiroz that scored Jared Young. Banuelos got David Bote swinging for the second out, but the Cubs almost scored again when a Banuelos changeup in the dirt bounced off catcher Zack Collins and high into the air.

Banuelos raced to the plate, caught the ball and tagged a sliding Christopher Morel. Home plate umpire Ryan Wills signaled safe, but the Pirates won a challenge upon video review to end the inning.

“I don’t know if it was cold weather but we just did not execute pitches … at all,” Shelton said. “We walked four guys in an inning. We had the lead. We did a good job battling back with some good at bats. We put ourselves in a position to win. We just did not throw the ball on the plate.”

Reynolds hammered a Manuel Rodriguez 0-1 sinker 414 feet to straightaway center for his career-best 25th home run to tie the game at 5-5 with one out in the seventh.

It didn’t take long for the Cubs to regain the lead.

Ramirez gave up a single to Higgins and walked Young, and both runners advanced on Morel’s sacrifice. Bae fielded McKinstry sharp grounder and fired it home to get Higgins out at the plate, but Quiroz followed with an RBI single to left to score Young for a 6-5 lead.

Bae recorded his first career hit in his major league debut, a one-out single through the middle in the bottom of the ninth. The 23-year-old South Korean, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, and drew a walk in his first at bat and showed his speed with a steal.

Cruz hit a line drive to the warning track in left field, bringing Reynolds to the plate. Bae stole second base – his second of the game – to put the tying run in scoring position. Facing a 3-1 count, Cubs reliever Erich Ueleman opted to intentionally walk Reynolds, then walked Rodolfo Castro to load the bases wtih two outs.

But Ueleman got Mitchell swinging at a 2-2 fastball for his first save.

“If they do decide to pitch to him, we have our best hitter at the plate,” Shelton said of Reynolds. “Rudy had a good at bat behind him. We just weren’t able to finish the inning off.”

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at kgorman@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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