Pirates ride Dario Agrazal’s strong start to victory against Cubs
Dario Agrazal’s last outing of his rookie season turned out to be one of his best.
The Pirates used Agrazal’s strong start and effective relief work from Francisco Liriano, Michael Feliz and Keone Kela to defeat the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, in front of an announced crowd of 10,592 at PNC Park.
The Pirates (67-91) have won the first two of a three-game series with the Cubs (82-76) after ending a nine-game losing streak. Before the end of the game, the Milwaukee Brewers won, officially ending the Cubs’ playoff hopes.
The Pirates broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth, but they did it without a hit.
After Cubs relief pitcher Brad Wieck walked Jose Osuna, David Phelps entered the game, walked Pablo Reyes and threw two wild pitches to score Osuna. Reyes scored on Erik Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly.
Kela recorded his first save with the Pirates.
Agrazal, hoping to pitch well enough to give himself a chance to win a spot in the 2020 starting rotaton, pitched into the seventh inning for only the second time in his 14 starts. He allowed six hits, two runs, struck out five and did not walk a batter. He was the model of efficiency, retiring 13 batters on three pitches or less.
“I loved the way he pitched,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He changed speeds. He used his fastball. He ran it back over the inside plate to the left-handers. He ran it in on the right-handers. He used the slider, as needed, for his main spin pitch. The changeup also was a big pitch to the left-handers.”
“I wanted to finish strong. I wanted to finish with a good impression,” he said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. “Not just my best outing, but one of my favorites.
I believe what gave me success is being locked in, focused in the plan and just attacking the zone.”
The Cubs’ Ian Happ, a Mt. Lebanon graduate, drove in both runs against Agrazal, with a single after Willson Contreras’ tripled in the second inning and a home run in the seventh. The homer tied the score, 2-2.
The Pirates scored two runs in the fourth on a single by Adam Frazier, Gonzalez’s RBI double and Jake Elmore’s single.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .