Top half of lineup produces for Pirates in 4-0 win against Cubs
With Josh Harrison's ankle still hurting Thursday, manager Clint Hurdle decided to give 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 pretty fair 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 was out in a close play at first in the first inning and Marte and McCutchen struck out, but the trio produced a pair of runs in the fifth to help the Pirates take the series with a 4-0 win.
Polanco led off the inning with a hard ground ball straight 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 triple.
In what is shaping up to be a monstrous month for McCutchen, the center fielder is now 18 for 42 with 14 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits in 11 games in June.
After he popped up out of his slide, however, McCutchen turned to the dugout, his momentum carried him forward and his foot came off the bag. Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena saw it, tagged him just before he got it back down, and McCutchen was out. Hurdle challenged and lost.
The Pirates built a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Russell Martin hit an RBI double and Jordy Mercer had a sacrifice fly.
Edinson Volquez (4-5) made the lead stand up, pitching seven scoreless innings. It was just the third time a starter went seven innings since Charlie Morton did it on May 18. Volquez allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five.
The Cubs left five runners on through five innings. They had runners on second and third with one out in the fifth, but Polanco made sure they stayed where they were after catching a fly ball in right field, then launching the throw home to Martin.
The game started 21 minutes late and featured a rain delay of 74 minutes in the bottom of the seventh inning.
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.
- No certainty for Pirates’ call-up veterans
- Rossi: Continuing legend of Pirate Ray
- Pirates notebook: Burnett encouraged by extended simulated game
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle’s faith in Polanco pays off
- Biertempfel: Pittsburgh native faced quick learning curve as Marlins GM
- Patience serves as virtue amid prospect Glasnow’s quest for majors
- Strong-armed outfielder Garcia growing into all-around threat
- Happ’s strong start, Ramirez’s homer pace Pirates past Rockies
- Starting 9: Pirates place renewed emphasis on nabbing base-stealers
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Rockies, Aug. 30, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Catcher Cervelli among ejection leaders