Top half of lineup produces for Pirates in 4-0 win against Cubs
With Josh Harrison's ankle still hurting on Thursday, manager Clint Hurdle gave Gregory Polanco a shot at batting leadoff for the Pirates' series finale against the Chicago Cubs.
Following Polanco, who was playing in just his third major league game, were fellow speedy outfielders Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, which Hurdle admitted made for a nice looking starting three.
“It looks really good, Polanco, Marte, McCutchen,” Hurdle said before the game. “That's not why we're doing it, but it does look good.”
Polanco, who was 1 for 4 with a strikeout, was out in a close play at first to open the game, and Marte and McCutchen struck out. But the trio produced a pair of runs in the fifth inning to help the Pirates take the series with a 4-0 win.
Polanco led off the inning with a hard ground ball up the middle past Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (2-6), and Marte followed with a single down the left-field line. McCutchen, who'd already found the North Side notch the inning before for a one-out double, went back there again for a two-run hit.
After he popped up out of his slide, however, McCutchen turned to the dugout in the beginnings of a celebration. His momentum carried him forward and his foot came off the bag. Luis Valbuena tagged him just before McCutchen got it back down for the out. Hurdle challenged and lost, and the hit was ruled a double.
“I guess that's why they say stay humble in this game because crazy stuff like that happens,” McCutchen said. “Popping up, get all excited, next thing you know I'm floating over the bag and his glove's right there. I'll try and stay on the bag next time.”
June is shaping up to be a monstrous month for McCutchen, who is 18 for 42 with 14 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits in 11 games.
Catcher Russell Martin also had another big night, going 2 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI in the fourth inning, when the Pirates scored their first two runs.
They didn't need any more with Edinson Volquez (4-5) pitching seven scoreless innings. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five.
“I think I just did what I was supposed to do, go and compete with Samardzija,” Volquez said. “He's one of the top guys in the National League. It was a good performance.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cole struggles as Brewers continue Miller mastery over Pirates
- No bitter brew for Mercer over reduced playing time after injury
- Gameday: Pirates at Brewers, Sept. 2, 2015
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- Pirates notebook: 6 September call-ups include first-timer Diaz
- Gameday: Pirates at Brewers, Sept. 1, 2015
- Happ’s strong start, Ramirez’s homer pace Pirates past Rockies
- Pirates turn nifty double play in 9th, edge Marlins
- Rossi: Continuing legend of Pirate Ray