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Cubs Hit Two Grand Slams, Complete Four Game Sweep of Pirates

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In a game that took over four hours, it was more of the same on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. The Pirates had a lead, lost the lead, tied it, retook the lead then blew it once more.

Matt Duffy and Frank Schwindel each hit grand slams for the Cubs as Chicago defeated the Pirates 11-8 at Wrigley Field on Sunday.

In total, the Pirates held leads at three different points of the game, but they weren’t able to tame the Cubs. The Bucs held a lead in the seventh inning or later in three out of the four games in the series.

Duffy hit a grand slam off Pirates’ starter Wil Crowe in the third, his second homer of the day, giving the Cubs a 7-5 lead. After the Pirates clawed back to retake the lead, Schwindel hit a go-ahead grand slam off Nick Mears, the third pitcher the Pirates used in the seventh.

It was an ugly one for Wil Crowe, who lasted just three innings, gave up seven runs, seven hits (three home runs) and two walks. He struck out just one batter and threw 68 pitches/39 strikes.

The Pirates struck first when Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a first inning home run, his seventh as a Pirate.

Duffy tied the game in the second with a solo homer to left, and Jason Heyward went back-to-back with Duffy to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Bryan Reynolds collected four hits or the second time this season. He was a triple shy of the cycle and now has six games of 3+ hits on the year. One of his four hits was a double, his 30th two-bagger of the year.

One of his other hits was his first career grand slam that gave the Pirates a 5-2 lead in the third. It was Reynolds’ first homer since Aug. 14 vs. Milwaukee.

His average is back over the .300 mark after a brief slump dropped his average on the season to .296 entering play.

After facing a 7-5 deficit, The Pirates clawed back over the next two innings to retake an 8-7 lead. Jacob Stallings picked up two RBIs, including an RBI single to give the Pirates their third separate lead of the game.

Ben Gamel made one of the more impressive catches of the year with an all-out diving effort to preserve the Pirates’ lead in the seventh.

Pittsburgh cannot get out of Chicago fast enough after going 0-6 on the road trip.

The Pirates face the Tigers at 1:35 on Labor Day. Bryse Wilson (2-6, 4.61 ERA) will pitch for the Pirates against Tarik Skubal (8-12, 4.26 ERA) for Detroit.

Stat of the Game:

  • For whatever reason, Crowe has noticeable struggles in the second inning of his starts. After giving up two earned on back-to-back homers Sunday, Crowe now has an 8.41 ERA (19er/20.1ip) in the second inning in 2021. For comparison, Crowe has a 2.57 ERA (6er/21ip) in the first inning. Before his third inning implosion, Crowe entered play with a 3.32 ERA in both the third and fourth innings this season.

Takeaways:

  • Can’t Spell Yoshi Without ISO: Since the Pirates signed Tsutsugo, he has collected 12 hits and 11 of those 12 hits have gone for extra bases, including his first inning homer Sunday. He has three doubles, a triple and has launched seven homers in 19 games with Pittsburgh. After Sunday’s game, Tsutsugo owns a .844 ISO since joining the Pirates. Tsutsugo has always been regarded for his power but hasn’t been able to show it on a consistent basis yet in his brief MLB career until his tenure with the Bucs. Tsutsugo is the fastest Pirate to seven homers in team history (42 at-bats).
  • Four Game Disaster : After another demoralizing loss Sunday, the Cubs’ swept the Pirates in four horrible losses for the Pirates. In game one, the Pirates led 3-0 in the seventh and overcame a 5-3 deficit to send the game to extras. The Cubs’ walked it off when Wilmer Difo whiffed on a popup to second base. In game two, the Pirates rallied back from down 5-0 to again tie the game at five. The momentum was short-lived as the Pirates surrendered the lead in the same inning that they tied it. On Saturday, the Pirates were up 6-4 in the ninth and lost 7-6. Yikes. 
  • Streak Snapped: After going 0 for 3 with two walks, Colin Moran’s nine game hitting streak came to an end. Over those nine games, Moran hit .333 with an .885 OPS, hit two homers and drove in eight. Moran came a couple games short of tying hid career-best hitting streak of 11 games, back from Aug. 22 to Sept. 1 in 2019. 
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