It took two full cycles through the order Thursday night, and then it happened. Gregory Polanco lined a leadoff single up the middle in the fifth inning. Starling Marte followed it with a single of his own. Then Andrew McCutchen doubled to the notch in left-center field to score both as the Pirates' imposing new top of the order delivered. McCutchen raced to third, but his momentum pulled his foot off the bag and Luis Valbuena tagged him out. The Pirates challenged, but the call was upheld. But the sequence put the Pirates ahead, 4-0, on their way to a win to take three out of four games from the Chicago Cubs and close out the series. "You envision things, and get some young fresh legs at the top," said manager Clint Hurdle. "Probably the most impressive was the way we were able to battle against one of the best pitchers in the league. That inning in particular you get a rookie and a one-year player [with] 0-2 base hits. Two strikes, no balls, they click, they get on. And 22 is 'McHot' right now. He just keeps swinging, getting pitches and not missing." By the end, the Pirates smashed seven doubles and 10 hits to improve to 32-34. Nine of those hits came off Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija. Pirates starter Edinson Volquez threw his four-seam fastball just once, but worked his sinker, curveball and changeup to battle through seven shutout innings. It was his deepest outing since April 22 and marked the first time this season he pitched seven scoreless.
Pirates defeat Chicago, 4-0
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Jun 13