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An Anthony Alford-Led Comeback Falls Short; Pirates Fall 6-5 to Cubs

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For the second straight game, the Pirates rallied late, to tie the game against the Cubs, this time led by Anthony Alford.

However, for the second straight game, the effort came up short as Chicago again defeated the Pirates 6-5 at Wrigley Field on Friday.

The Pirates faced a 5-0 deficit in the fifth, when Alford got the Pirates on the board with a 469-foot home run that cleared the bleachers over the ivy-covered left field fence. The 469-foot blast is the Pirates’ fifth longest home run in the Statcast era.

Two pitches later, Hoy Park went back-to-back with Alford, hitting a homerun that went just a measly 451 feet – still an impressive distance none the less.

The Pirates scored again when Cubs’ shortstop Sergio Alcantara sailed a throw to first on what seemed to be an easy inning-ending double play. Andy Green, managing the Cubs after David Ross’ positive COVID test, was ejected arguing with second base umpire Tom Hallion.

Alford then hit his second homer of the game, this one a two-run homer that tied the game 5-5, the first two-homer game of his career.

The Pirates’ momentum did not last long as Frank Schwindel put the Cubs back on top with a homer off of Shelby Miller in the home half of the sixth.

The Cubs established their early lead thanks to Michael Hermosillo, who entered play 4 for 29 with the Cubs, had himself a day at the plate for the Cubs. He recorded three hits and drove in three runs, and was a triple shy of the cycle.

Schwindel gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead with an RBI single in the second, and Austin Romine also drove in a run in the game.

Rowan Wick struck out the side in order to pick up the save.

Bucs’ starter Steven Brault, who prior to his last two starts had put together an impressive stretch of pitching dating back to last season, struggled with command today and the Cubs made him pay. He went four innings, gave up five earned, seven hits, walked four and struck out four.

The Pirates and Cubs will play game three of this four-game series tomorrow at 2:20. Kyle Hendricks (14-6, 4.43 ERA) will pitch for the Cubs and the Pirates’ starter is TBA.

Stat of the Game:

  • For his career, Brault has not fared well against the Cubs. After giving up runs Friday afternoon against the Cubs, he owns a career¬†6.88 ERA (40er/52.1ip) in 17 games (eight starts) against Chicago. The numbers are even worse for him at Wrigley Field, posting a¬†9.00 ERA (29er/28ip) in now 11 career appearances at Wrigley. The¬†9.32 ERA is his worst in any stadium (min. 10 innings pitched).

Takeaways: 

  • Dazzling David:¬†David Bednar has been nearly untouchable in his last eight appearances. In that stretch, Bednar hasn’t allowed a run, has struck out 12 and has only allowed four baserunners (three hits, one walk) in 9.1 innings of work. Opponents are hitting just .097 against him in that span. In his last 28 games dating back to June 18, Bednar has a 0.88 ERA, allowing just three runs on 15 hits, nine walks and striking out 35 in 30.2ip. The opposition has managed just a .406 OPS against him during that time. He’s lowered his ERA on the season to 2.26, and has a 2.82 FIP to back it, and seems to have the inside track on the Pirates’ closer job moving forward.
  • Hitting Streak:¬†Colin Moran extended his hitting streak to eight games with his fourth inning single. In those eight games, he’s batting .344 (11 for 32) with two home runs and seven runs driven in. He also has hits in 10 out of his last 11 games, batting .341¬†over that span. His career high hit streak is 11 straight games from Aug. 22 to Sept. 1 during the 2019 season. Moran is 4 for 8 against Cubs’ right-hander Alec Mills in his career after going 1 for 2 against him in Friday’s game.
  • AA’s Power Surge: In 14 games since being recalled by the Pirates on Aug. 7, Alford has collected nine hits, and seven of them have gone for extra bases. (four home runs and three doubles), and he’s driven in nine runs. The four homers have all come since being activated off the injured list and appearing back in game action for the first time on Aug. 24, a span of nine games. Although Alford struggled in his first stint with the Pirates to begin the year, he hit 12 doubles and 14 home runs in 56 games with Triple-A Indianapolis, good for a .286 ISO.¬†
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