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Pirates Blast 5 HRs to Beat Cubs in Paul Skenes’ Eventful Debut

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Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Paul Skenes’ debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates turned out to be one to remember, but not for the reasons you would have expected.

The Pirates (18-22) jumped out to a five-run lead with Skenes on the mound before a bullpen meltdown resulted in the Chicago Cubs taking a lead in the fifth after a two hour and 20 minute rain delay.

However, Yasmani Grandal came through in the bottom of the inning with a three-run home run to give the Pirates the lead back, and they went on to beat the Cubs 10-9.

Grandal’s home run was one of five in the game for the Pirates, who set a season-high in runs scored. It marked the seventh time in PNC Park history that the Pirates have hit five home runs in the same game in their home ballpark.

The Pirates built their early lead by way of the long ball against Cubs’ starter Justin Steele. Connor Joe connected on a three-run home run in the third inning for the first runs of the game. Joe was immediately followed by Oneil Cruz, who clobbered his sixth home run of the season to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead on back-to-back home runs.

After Nico Hoerner got the Cubs (23-17) on the board with a solo homer off of Skenes in the top of the fourth, Michael A. Taylor hit an opposite field two-run shot for his first home run with the Pirates. For Taylor, it was the first time he drove in a run since Apr. 3.

Andrew McCutchen chipped in a 423-foot solo home run to center field in the sixth for the Pirates’ 10th run of the game.

The Cubs scored seven runs in the fifth inning, six of which came on bases loaded walks.

Skenes allowed the first two batters to reach to open up the fifth before he was lifted for reliever Kyle Nicolas. The Pirates’ reliever struck out the first two batters he faced but the completely lost control of the strike zone and squandered a five-run lead.

Nicolas plunked Ian Happ to load the bases before issuing three-straight free passes with the bases loaded on 12 pitches.

Manager Derek Shelton then optioned for left-hander Josh Fleming, who picked up right where Nicolas left off and issued another walk to push across another run. Mike Tachuman then reached on an infield single to tie the game at 6-all before the game was paused.

Once the delay was no more and the game resumed, Colin Holderman entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs trying to preserve a tie. The right-hander proceeded to walk the first two batters he faced once play resumed which gave the Cubs an 8-6 lead.

As both inherited runners scored against the Pirates’ bullpen, Skenes‘ final line read four-plus innings, six hits, three runs, two walks and seven strikeouts.

Colin Holderman (1-0) was awarded the win and Keegan Thompson (1-1) was on the hook for the loss. David Bednar allowed a run in the ninth earned his seventh save of the season. It was his first time pitching since May 5.

McCutchen, Cruz, Grandal and Taylor all finished the game with multiple hits.

Up Next

Bailey Falter (2-2, 4.34 ERA) will get the ball for the Pirates in the series finale on Mother’s Day. The Cubs have yet to announce a starting pitcher. First pitch: 1:35 ET.

Housekeeping:

  • The Pirates placed third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes on the injured list with lower-back inflammation and recalled infielder Alika Williams from Triple-A.
  • Additionally, right-hander Roansy Contreras was designated for assignment.

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