Pirates wait out long rain delay for win over Cubs
CHICAGO — A long, wet wait paid off Monday night — well, actually, early Tuesday morning — for the Pirates, who beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-0, to take a split of their four-game series.
Rain delayed the start of the game by 3 hours, 37 minutes. Because the Pirates are in the mix for a wild card spot and don't have another off day this season, game officials decided to wait out the storm.
"I watched 'Monday Night Football,' " Pirates starter Kevin Correia said. "I don't get to do that too often. I did everything to get ready to go for a 7:05 p.m. game. You don't want to sit for three hours and think about what you're going to do."
Cubs lefty Travis Wood fired the first pitch, a called strike to Starling Marte, at 10:42 p.m. local time. Weather conditions were chilly, damp and very, very dark. The couple thousand fans who stuck around were rewarded with a 25 percent discount on pop, beer and hot dogs.
The first two innings went by quickly. Neither team got a hit and Correia (11-9) struck out the first four batters he faced.
"In a game that starts at 10:40, you know hitters are going to be aggressive," Correia said. "It's not going to be a game where they're taking a lot of pitches. So, if you pound the zone with quality pitches, you're going to have a quality outing."
For the Pirates, Clint Barmes was hit by a pitch leading off the third. To follow, Brock Holt singled to center. With one out, Marte tripled to left field. Marte is the first Pirates player to triple in three straight games since Andrew McCutchen did it in 2009 as a rookie. The only other Pirates rookie to accomplish the feat was Bob Elliott in 1940.
"They come in bunches," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I think that young man has a chance to lead the league in triples someday. There's a lot of usable speed out there."
Jose Tabata blasted an RBI doubled off the center field ivy to make it 3-0.
Correia worked out of a small jam in the third. Leadoff hitter Brett Jackson walked and Darwin Barney singled. Wood grounded to Barmes, who stepped on second and fired to first for a double play. David DeJesus grounded out.
Motivated to get the game over before sunrise, both pitchers kept things moving. Wood (6-12) struck out five in a row from the third into the fifth inning. That gave him eight strikeouts in the game, equaling his career high.
Barney singled again to start the sixth, but Barmes turned about double play to snuff the threat. Those were the only two hits against Correia, who also got six strikeouts in seven innings.
"You could argue that's the best game he pitched all year," Hurdle said. "The length, the efficiency. There weren't a lot of balls hit hard against him. It's the start we needed."