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Chicago Cubs Walk it Off, 7-6, After a Controversial Safe Call

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The Chicago Cubs walked-off the Pirates in the 9th after a blown save opportunity from Chris Stratton and a controversial safe call on a Frank Schwindel’s infield single.

Brubaker’s day would start off rather unlucky after two soft hit singles, but thanks to a wonderful pick-off move to second base and two strikeouts, Brubaker would escape the first inning unscathed.

Brubaker would cruise through the first two outs of the 3rd inning. He registered his 5th strikeout before giving up a hard-hit double by Rafael Ortega (106.2 MPH). After that, the Pirates starter would settle down and keep the Bucco’s slim 1-0 lead intact.

Brubaker would begin to crumble slightly in the 4th inning. After a lead-off double by Ian Happ, walk to Wilson Contreras, and a wild pitch, Brubaker would have runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs.

On a 3-2 count against Patrick Wisdom, Brubaker would be visited by Derek Shelton pulled with an apparent injury. Brubaker had just been activated off of the 10-day IL, later on in the game it was confirmed that he left with right shoulder discomfort.

Sam Howard would come on to replace the injured Brubaker. The Cubs would take their first lead of the game after a single from Matt Duffy, and two fielders’ choice’s by Jason Heyward and Sergio Alcantara, making it a 3-1 Cubs lead. Two of those three runs scores were charged to Brubaker.

Duane Underwood Jr. replaced Sam Howard in the bottom of the fifth, and seven pitches in; he would give up a solo shot to Frank Schwindel, cutting the Pirates lead 6-4

The training staff and Derek Shelton would visit Underwood after throwing a rare 92 MPH fastball and looking like he shook his arm in discomfort. He would leave mid-at-bat against Duffy with an apparent injury.

Chasen Shreve got the job done rather quickly; after a double play and a fly-out, Shreve would need just eight pitches to maintain the Pirates’ 6-4 lead.

But Chris Stratton, out for his second inning of work in the 9th, would end up blowing the save opportunity thanks to some timely hitting by Alfonso Rivas and a defensive blunder by Ben Gamel. The game was tied until a walk-off infield single by Frank Schwindel that seemed to take a long time after a review that didn’t go the Pirates way.

Just five pitches into Kyle Hendricks’ outing, cult hero Yoshi Tsutsugo blasted a solo shot giving the Pirates an early 1-0 lead in the Windy City. Statcast said that the ball traveled 404 feet with an exit velocity of 103.7 MPH.I

In the fifth inning, the Pirates bats would show extreme patience against Hendricks, drawing three walks and a hit batter. Hendricks would leave after hitting Anthony Alford with the bases loaded, making this a brand new ballgame at 3-3.

The Cubs’ fifth inning woes would continue after Trevor Megill threw a wild pitch scoring Jacob Stallings and then a two-RBI single from Wilmer Difo, giving the Pirates a 6-3 lead.

The Pirates’ bats would have a good day at the plate amassing nine hits and drawing four walks. Patience was the key for the bats today, and Anthony Alford led the way going 2-4 with two stolen bases.

Takeaways 

Brubaker was cooking- Prior to his shoulder injury, Brubaker seemed to be mowing down the Cubs’ batters with ease. His slider looked crisp, and the opposing batters could not make hard contact against him besides the Ortega double in the third inning. Brubaker looked off when the fourth inning came around, he was missing his spots, and his demeanor suggested frustration; hopefully, it was just a precautionary pull.

Has Yoshi earned a chance for 2022?- Yoshi Tsutsugo homered yet again Saturday afternoon, and he became the second Pirate in the modern era to hit 6+ home runs in his first 40 at-bats. His contract expires at the end of the 2021 season, and if the DH rule is implemented, it might be worth it to give Tsutsugo a chance if the contract numbers are friendly.    

Underwood under duress- Underwood Jr. came into Saturday’s game with an enormous amount of innings pitched for a reliever at 109.0 innings; now, this may not be the entire reason for Underwood’s injury Saturday, but it probably didn’t help it either. Underwood left with right shoulder discomfort.      

Where is Oviedo?- At one point in the game, the Pirates had Luis Oviedo warming up in the bullpen. In a season that is a wash and development takes center stage, why not have Oviedo come out in a pressure situation and have him learn?

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