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Roberto Perez’s Three RBIs Lift Pirates to 4-2 Win Over Cubs

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After the start of the game got pushed back nearly six hours, the Pirates and Cubs met again on Friday for the second of four games at Wrigley Field. Thanks by a three-RBI night from Roberto Perez, the Bucs defeated the Cubs for the second straight night, coming out on top 4-2.

For only the second time this season, the Pirates were the first team to score when Perez drove in a pair with an single down the third base line in the second inning. Perez then added his first home run in a Pirates uniform, a solo shot to left field in the fifth.

The three RBIs were the most for Perez since July 8 of last year against the Royals, a game in which he also drove in three. In addition to hitting his first homer of 2022, the effort also marked his first multi-hit game of the season.

After Michael Hermosillo tied the game with a two-run double in the home half of the second, the Pirates retook the lead in the fourth when Michael Chavis hit a solo shot to center field. Chavis’ hot start to the season continued with the blast, his second of the year.

Cubs starter Drew Smyly hadn’t allowed a run in either of his first two starts to begin the season, but the Pirates tagged him for four earned runs in this one.

Jose Quintana was taken out of the game with two outs in the fifth and a runner on second. Derek Shelton opted for Heath Hembree to face Seiya Suzuki, and Hembree struck out the Cubs right fielder. On the night, Quintana gave up two earned runs, three hits, walked three and struck out three.

The Bucs bullpen was really, really good again. They blanked the Cubs over the final 4.1 innings and have held the Cubs scoreless over 10.1 innings in the series. Chris Stratton picked up his second consecutive save.

With the win, the Pirates are back to .500 on the year with a record of 7-7.

The Pirates will go for the series victory on Saturday with a scheduled first pitch for 2:20. Zach Thompson (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will square off with Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 6.08 ERA).

Takeaways

  • Embracing A Fresh Start: How about Chavis since he put on a Pirates uniform for the first time? In 21 games with the Pirates prior to Friday’s first pitch, Chavis was slashing .382/.400/.559, good for an OPS+ of 165. His hot start to the 2022 season continued with his fourth inning homer. The former first rounder has made the most of his opportunity with the Bucs. Between his defensive versatility and his potential at the plate, Chavis has given the Pirates are intriguing piece moving forward today.
  • Doing His Job: It might not always be pretty, but so far, Quintana has done exactly what he was brought in to do. He’s given the rotation some veteran stability. In all three of his starts, Quintana has kept the Pirates in a position to win the game. Quintana’s night ended with the same 3.86 ERA the night began with. He may be walking too many batters, but he’s successfully limited the damage and has given Pittsburgh opportunities to win in all three of his starts to begin the season. The Bucs are now 2-1 in games Quintana starts this season.
  • Multi-Inning Stints: Add Chase De Jong to the list of Pirates relievers this season who have had success covering multiple innings out of the bullpen. Making his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A, De Jong blanked the Cubs over two innings. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out a pair. Wil Crowe and Dillon Peters are two others currently in the Pirates bullpen who have thrived in the roles so far. The roles are even more important early on this season than previous ones as starting pitchers are still getting stretched out coming off a shorter spring.
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