Rain delay can’t save Pirates in road loss to Cubs
CHICAGO — Jose Quintana struck out 11 in seven innings of four-hit ball, and the Chicago Cubs blanked the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-0, on Thursday night.
Daniel Descalso and Victor Caratini each had two hits and an RBI in a game that was delayed 69 minutes by rain before the eighth.
Quintana (1-1) bounced back after being roughed up for eight runs and eight hits in three innings against Milwaukee in his first start of the season last Friday. It was the longest outing by a Chicago starter this season.
Steve Cishek pitched the eighth, and Pedro Strop got three outs for his first save. The Cubs took two of three in their first home series after opening with a 2-7 road trip.
Pirates starter Joe Musgrove (1-1) allowed two unearned runs and four hits in 61/3 innings.
Because of severe storms predicted to move into the area late Thursday night, the Cubs pushed up the start of the game a half hour. The rain began as Chicago rallied for both runs in the seventh.
With one out, Jason Heyward lifted a pop fly to shallow left field, and the strong right-to-left wind blew the ball toward the line. Because of a defensive shift, no Pirates fielder had a clear shot at it. Three players converged, and the ball hit off the glove of third baseman Jung Ho Kang in fair territory and fell in.
The play originally was called a double but quickly was changed to an error on shortstop Erik Gonzalez.
Descalso followed with a single to drive in Heyward for the game’s first run. Descalso went to second on the throw to the plate and scored when the next batter, Caratini, doubled to right-center.
By that point, a steady rain had begun. Shortly after the seventh inning ended, a bolt of lightning flashed in the distance beyond center field and the umpires stopped play.
Chicago manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the bottom of the fifth by plate umpire Mike Estabrook for arguing balls and strikes.
With runners on first and second and one out, Caratini took a low breaking ball on a 3-1 pitch for a strike. After hearing complaints from the Cubs dugout, Estabrook took a few steps down the third-base line and held up a hand, essentially saying that was enough.
Maddon walked out and slowly made his way to the home plate area. He was ejected almost immediately after speaking to Estabrook.
Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams (1-0, 2.25 ERA) takes the mound Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Washington. LHP Patrick Corbin (0-0, 3.75) starts for the Nationals.