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Freese caps Pirates’ comeback vs. Cubs

Sep 06, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Chicago Cubs’ roller-coaster season hit another dip Tuesday.

After losing their previous two games, the Cubs seemed set up for a relatively painless win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Then the eighth inning happened.

That’s when David Freese singled to cap a 4-3 comeback victory for the Pirates over the Cubs.

With Chicago leading 3-2 in the eighth, the Pirates tied it 3-3 when Max Moroff lifted a single into left field to score John Jaso from third. Moroff spoiled a strong effort from Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who allowed two runs and five hits with two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

“Good hitting by Marte, a softy by Moroff and all of a sudden we’re in trouble,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “You think you can at least get out of it with a tied game, but Freese hits a bullet up the middle and that’s it.”

Freese singled to center to drive in Moroff from second, handing right-handed reliever Carl Edwards Jr. (3-4) the loss.

“I didn’t really know if he was going to drop the curveball in,” Freese said, “chose to stay hard and got a good swing on it.”

Left-handed reliever Wade LeBlanc (5-2) pitched three perfect innings for the win and closer Felipe Rivero pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save.

“We pitched well enough to stay in the hunt and in the game, and then found a way late,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was a fun game to watch and we just stayed after it.”

Pittsburgh (67-72) extended its winning streak to four games. The Cubs (75-63), who scored one run in the first inning and two in the third.

, have lost their past three games.

After winning six straight from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2, they lost 12-0 to the Pirates on Monday, one day after losing 5-1 to the Atlanta Braves.

“It’s just been that kind of year, but we’re good where we are right now,” Hendricks said. “We just have to keep taking it day to day. Not every year is going to be like last year. I think we moved on from that. We know that. It was just such a special year for us.

“His is baseball. This is how you play. Those teams are good that we’re playing against and they’re bringing their best.”

Before it seemed like it would come to an end, the Pirates’ attempt at extending their winning streak started well.

Rookie right fielder Jordan Luplow gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead in the second inning with a two-run homer, the second home run of his career. Luplow previously homered against the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 2, when he had three RBIs.

That lead didn’t last, though. Ian Happ drove in two runs with a single to center in the third to put the Cubs ahead 3-2.

Chicago had a chance to break the game open later in the inning when Pirates starter Steven Brault hit Victor Caratini to load the bases with one out. Rene Rivera flied out to right and Hendricks grounded out to leave the runners stranded.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead when Ben Zobrist scored Jon Jay on a sacrifice fly in the first inning.

Brault made his first major league start after 14 relief appearances for the Pirates during the past two seasons. He allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings.

“There were some times that I felt really good, but things didn’t quite go as I would like to,” Brault said. “Gave up some soft hits, gave up some beats. Overall, I felt pretty good. It was a good place to start.”

NOTES: Cubs C Taylor Davis was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. The 27-year-old hit .297 with six home runs and 62 RBIs in 102 games with Iowa this season. ... Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo and RF Jason Heyward each didn’t start after going 0-for-4 in Chicago’s 12-0 loss Monday. ... The Pirates skipped RHP Ivan Nova’s scheduled start and instead decided to go with LHP Steven Brault, who made his first MLB start. Nova has lost six of his past seven decisions dating to July 23. ... The Pirates announced the signing of general manager Neil Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle to four-year contract extensions. Hurdle is 576-534 in seven seasons as Pirates manager.


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