A should-be catch, that right fielder Wilson Contreras (yes, you read that correctly) was inches away from making a play on, arguably costs the Cubs a win in this one.
It has been no secret that the Chicago Cubs have been struggling lately. With four losses already on this road trip, and with many questions surrounding this team, the Cubs were looking for some answers from their bats. On the mound, Yu Darvish (2-4, 4.98 ERA) made his 18th start in a Cubs uniform this year. Darvish has not been able to find consistency just yet this season, but there have been beacons of hope. Hard throwing right hander Chris Archer (3-6, 5.50 ERA) took the mound for the Pirates.
Victor Caratini ignited the scoring early in this game with a blast to right centerfield in the top of the second making it 1-0 Cubs.
In the top of the fourth, Addison Russell drove in a run with a line drive single to left field, scoring Wilson Contreras and made it 2-0 Cubs.
The lead did not last long, as Cubs killer Josh Bell doubled in Starling Marte and the following batter Melky Cabrera homered making it 3-2 Pirates.
In the top of the fifth, Javier Baez tied the game with a monster shot into the Pirates center field shrubbery, making it 3-3.
However, Josh Bell struck yet again, taking a pitch opposite field to the left field stands, giving the Pirates a 4-3 lead.
When Cubs fans thought hope was lost, Victor Caratini, this time batting from the right side, golfed a go-ahead two-run homer way out to make it 5-4 Cubs.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Cubs had setup man Pedro Strop on the mound, after a Starling Marte single and Josh Bell coming up and nobody out. Pedro Strop eased Cubs fans nerves with a rally killing pick off of Starling Marte at first.
Later in the inning, with Melky Cabrera on second, pinch hitter Jose Osuna hit a single. Contereras gunned down Melky Cabrera with a big throw at the plate conserving the lead.
Newly acquired Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel came in to try and shut the door on this important Cubs win. However, a crushing blow by the Pirates in the bottom of the ninth would allow them to win the game. With Elias Diaz on first and a bloop hit to right field, it seemed like it would be two outs and the Cubs would be only one out away from a well-needed victory.
The Cubs were playing no doubles defense in the outfield, ironically, so the ground Wilson Contreras had to cover to make that catch was a lot. However, the catch was not made by Contreras and instead it was a double, exactly what the Cubs were hoping to prevent.
The next batter, with runners on second and third, hit a ground ball to Addison Russell who threw home on the play, instead of turning two, and Elias Diaz scored on the throw from Russell anyway.
With Jung Ho Kang on third, all it took was a sac fly to win the game… and that would be exactly what happened. Pirates won the third game of this series on a sac fly to left fielder Kyle Schwarber, making this a sad finish for Cubs fans.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
An outstanding performance by Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini makes him the player of the game. Caratini went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and two game changing home runs. Unfortunately, it was not enough, but Caratini is trending in the right direction.
Joes Quintana (5-7, 4.21 ERA) takes on Jordan Lyles (5-4, 3.71 ERA) tomorrow night. The Cubs will try to salvage a victory in this series before heading to the South side of Chicago for the final two games of the infamous Crosstown Classic.
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