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Pirates suffer ugly loss to Cubs at Wrigley

| Friday, July 7, 2017, 6:18 p.m.

CHICAGO — The way things went Friday afternoon, Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams would not have been surprised if someone had bolted out of the stands at Wrigley Field and paraded naked across the infield.

“The first few innings were weird for both sides,” Williams said. “Anything that can happen on a baseball field happened. We were waiting for the streaker to run onto the field and make it all full circle.”

The game kept its PG rating, however, and the Pirates stumbled through a 6-1 loss against the Chicago Cubs that was filled with wasted chances, errors and lots and lots of pitches.

“I felt like every hitter, something weird was happening,” Williams said. “It taxed me, and it taxed my pitch count. It got me out of the game in the fourth inning.”

Through three innings, Williams threw 80 pitches and Cubs right-hander Eddie Butler tossed 60. The teams went a combined 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position, made four errors — the Pirates committed three, which tied their season high — and stranded seven men on base.

“For three innings, it was mayhem out there,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We created some chaos for (Williams) early.”

Williams escaped a two-on, none-out jam in the first inning. In the second, he struck out Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant with the bases loaded.

“You never want to give up runs,” Williams said. “The best way I could do it today was by missing bats.”

With two outs in the fourth inning, Zobrist singled to right. Bryant got a fastball down in the zone and one-hopped it hard past third baseman Josh Harrison for an RBI triple.

The 98th and final pitch from Williams was another four-seamer. With a short, crisp swing, Anthony Rizzo launched it over the right-field wall to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

In 3 23 innings, Williams (3-4) allowed three runs on six hits, walked two and struck out three. The 98 pitches were his season high.

It was Williams' shortest outing since he went three innings May 8 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That was when Williams was being stretched out after being moved from the bullpen to the rotation.

The box score will say Williams was not pitch-efficient. The game itself tells a different story.

“He had to pitch out of the stretch, leverage situations, tight situations,” Hurdle said. “If you're not at the game today — some people were at it and probably didn't watch it — and don't watch that man pitch … you have no clue about the effort, the pitch ability and the execution of so many pitches that he did have. He pitched very well today.”

With a 14 mph wind blowing in from center field, it was day for grinding out runs. The Pirates had at least one baserunner in every inning except the eighth. They had 10 men get into scoring position, but only one touched the plate.

“When the ball is not really carrying, you've got to get the run when the opportunities present themselves,” said Andrew McCutchen, who went 3 for 4 with a walk. “The opportunities were there. If the wind's blowing out, we probably score 10 runs instead of one.”

Butler began the fifth, but was removed after plunking leadoff batter Harrison. In 87 games, Harrison has been hit by a pitch 20 times, tops in the majors.

The Pirates finally broke through for a run in the seventh against Pedro Strop. McCutchen singled and went to second base on a passed ball.

McCutchen has collected three hits in three of his past four games. Since his batting average sank to .200 on May 23, McCutchen has gone 57 for 138 (.413) to boost his average to .295.

Josh Bell singled to center. McCutchen scored, and Bell moved to second on a wild throw by third baseman Bryant.

Bryant hit two home runs, a solo shot off Jhan Marinez in the sixth and a two-run blast off Antonio Bastardo in the eighth. It was Bryant's 10th career multi-homer game.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

The Cubs' Kyle Schwarber collides with Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli during the fifth inning Friday, July 7, 2017, in Chicago.
Getty Images
Pirates starting pitcher Trevor Williams and catcher Francisco Cervelli watch as the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo greets teammate Ben Zobrist (left) as Zobrist scores the first run of the game in the fourth inning July 7, 2017 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Pirates starting pitcher Trevor Williams leaves in the fourth inning after giving up three runs to the Cubs on Friday, July 7, 2017, in Chicago.
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