- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Cubs ended Pittsburgh’s season in the wild-card game last year, and the closest the Pirates have come to their rivals in four games this season is four runs.

The result is an early eight-game deficit in the NL Central.

Francisco Liriano gave up home runs to Addison Russell, David Ross and Kris Bryant, more than enough for Jason Hammel in the Cubs’ 9-4 victory Friday.

The Pirates have been outscored 29-9 in four games against Chicago, which improved the majors’ best record to 26-8.

“It seems like they’re giving a lot of people trouble besides us,” said Pittsburgh star Andrew McCutchen, who had three hits, including a two-run homer in the ninth. “They’re a good ballclub and we’ll get opportunities, but we’ve got to key on them. We’ve got to jump on them.”

Russell and Ross each hit a three-run shot, and Bryant connected for a two-run drive. Hammel (5-0) struck out a season-best eight over 6 2/3 innings, giving up one earned run and eight hits.

“Everything was sharper than the last time we saw him,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The slider played very, very well for him today. The fastball had some sink. He used the curveball when he wanted to. He had command of four pitches today and pitched very effectively.”

Hammel and Liriano matched zeros until Russell hit a slider into the left-field bleachers in the fourth.

“It was huge,” Hammel said. “As you can see, it kind of completely threw Liriano off.”

Bryant and Ross homered in the fifth, chasing Liriano. The Pirates had won all but two of his previous 23 starts, and Liriano was 4-1 in his last five starts at Wrigley Field.

Liriano (3-2) was charged with eight runs and nine hits.

“You can’t make that many mistakes,” Liriano said. “It’s one of those days.”

Pittsburgh scored two in the sixth on Ross’ throwing error and Francisco Cervelli’s infield single.

Hammel became the 42nd straight Cubs starter to go at least five innings, the club’s longest streak since 1910. He’s also the last Cubs starter who failed to go five - on Sept. 26 when he lasted four in a 4-0 loss to the Pirates.

McCutchen homered to left off Trevor Cahill and extended his hitting streak to seven games. He also singled and doubled for the Pirates, who have to face Cubs ace Jake Arrieta on Saturday.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked if they are inside the Pirates’ heads.

“I’ve been on the other side of that and it can bother you somewhat,” Maddon said. “But they have a wonderful team with so many great professionals on that team. I don’t think that’s the case with them.”


Pirates: LHP Cory Luebke (hamstring) allowed one run and one hit while getting four outs in consecutive rehab appearances for Triple-A Indianapolis this week.

Cubs: Maddon said C Miguel Montero (back) would be activated off the disabled list “any day now.” … LHP Zac Rosscup, on the 60-day DL, had shoulder surgery and won’t throw for three months. … RHP Andury Acevedo, on the 40-man roster, tore his left ACL at Double-A Tennessee and is out for the season.


Pirates utility player Cole Figueroa pinch-hit and grounded out leading off the ninth, hours after he was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Left-hander Kyle Lobstein was optioned to Indianapolis, reducing Pittsburgh’s bullpen to seven relievers.

Hurdle said Thursday’s off day coupled with a May 10 rainout prompted the move after the Pirates had been playing with only a four-man bench.

Figueroa made Pittsburgh’s opening-day roster, but was sent down after going hitless in nine at-bats.


Cubs LHP Jeff Locke (1-2, 4.68 ERA) will face Arrieta (6-0, 1.13 ERA), who seeks to win his 18th straight decision in the series’ middle game. Arrieta, who last took a loss on July 25, has lasted only five innings in two of his past three starts since his no-hitter against Cincinnati.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide