Another tough and frustrating loss. It wasn’t quite as bad as Friday night’s disaster, but the disappointment was still there.
James McDonald pitched a decent game. The one thing he struggled with was retiring the first batter of the inning – something that he failed to do in every inning except the first. He gave up a solo shot to Alfonso Soriano, and then a run each in the third and fifth innings. J-Mac went 5.2 innings and gave up seven hits. By no means a great start, but the Pirates were still very much in the game when he left.
The Cubs made the decision to shut Jeff Samardzija down for the final 4+ weeks after his start tonight, and he made it count. Pedro knocked in two runs with a single in the first. It looked like the Bucs would be able to get to Samrdzija early and get into the Chicago bullpen, but he settled down after the first. After the Cubs tied the game and then took the lead, the Pirates got an unearned run against the former Notre Dame football star. Rod Barajas got to second on a throwing error and Josh Harrison pinch-ran for him with two outs. Jeff Clement pinch-hit and smashed a rocket off the RF wall for an RBI-single. It also happened to be his first hit of the season as he brought his average up from .000 to .100.
Jason Grilli came in for the eighth with the game tied at 3-3. He gave up a leadoff broken-bat single. He got two groundouts, but the runner advanced to second. After a walk put runners on first and second, David DeJesus lined a hit into RF. The ball was hit hard enough that Alex Presley had a good chance to get the runner out at the plate, especially since it was a catcher running. Everyone knows that Presley has a below-average arm, but he really showed it this time. He made up for it with an accurate throw, but it was still late as the runner slid in safe for the go-ahead run. Samardzija took the lead and set down the next six batters to get the complete-game.
Pirates (72-66) – Cubs (53-86)
Win: Samardzija (9-13)
Loss: Grilli (1-5)