The Pirates and Cubs met on Thursday at Wrigley Field for the first of a four game series in the Windy City. The Pirates rallied from down three and the bullpen was outstanding in the Bucs 4-3 triumph over Chicago.
Bryse Wilson struggled with some wildness in the first. After giving up a leadoff single to Rafael Ortega, he later proceeded to issue three straight walks, the last of which gave the Cubs a run. Jonathan Villar recorded a sacrifice fly to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the first.
An inning later, the Cubs began the inning with back-to-back hits and Seiya Suzuki drove in a run to put Chicago ahead by three.
The Pirates answered in the top of the third when Daniel Vogelbach blasted his third homer of the season for the Bucs. The long ball brought the Pirates back within a run.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 22, 2022
Yoshi Tsutsugo picked a good time to get his first extra-base hit of the season. With the bases loaded and the Bucs down a run in the fifth, Tsutsugo delivered a two-RBI double the other way to give them a 4-3 lead.
Bryan Reynolds hit a triple in the seventh that you… well, just have to see to believe.
Exit Velocity: 49.4 mph
Distance: 79 feet
Result: Triple pic.twitter.com/IYfwMKgvEw
— Justice delos Santos (@justdelossantos) April 22, 2022
Wil Crowe was sensational out of the bullpen again for the Pirates. He covered 2.1 innings for the Bucs, allowed just one base hit and struck out five. Crowe, Dillon Peters, David Bednar and Chris Stratton combined to cover six innings and held the Cubs scoreless. Stratton picked up his first save of the season.
The Pirates bullpen has been quite good for most of the early season and the crucial hand they had in this win can’t be overstated. They held the Cubs to just one hit — a single off the bat of Willson Contreras.
The Pirates have a rare Friday afternoon game which is almost exclusive to Wrigley Field. Jose Quintana (0-1, 3.86 ERA) will face his former team for the second time this season. Drew Smyly (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will look to keep his strong start to the season going for the Cubs.
- Who Scores First?: Answer: not the Pirates, except in just one game this season. That’s right, the Pirates have been the first team to score in only one of their 13 games to begin the season. That happened in the second game of the year when the Bucs got on the board in the top of the first, only to see the Cardinals answer with a run of their own in the home half of the inning. The Pirates have given up the first run in their other 12 games to begin 2022. All six of the Pirates wins now have been come-from-behind victories.
- Crowe in Full Flight: Crowe’s revitalization out of the Bucs bullpen has been something else. After his efforts in this one, he’s up to 12 scoreless innings to begin his season. Opponents are 4 for 39 (.103) against him with all four hits being singles. He’s walked four and struck out 15. He’s given the Pirates a highly effective weapon out of the bullpen, not only with his effectiveness but also giving the team length, covering multiple innings in all five of his outings. He’s tied for the second most scoreless outings of 2+ innings to start a season in the modern era (5).
- N*-H*****: Okay, the jinx may not apply to multiple relief stints but Peters was tasked finishing off the sixth inning, and he retired both batters he faced. He still hasn’t allowed a hit this year in his 7.2 innings of work. As Joe Block pointed out on Twitter, Peters has achieved the longest hitless batter streak (25) since at least 1974. This was the first time he wasn’t asked to cover multiple innings so far this year.