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Cubs 10, Pirates 6: Comeback Cubs score six in sixth

The Cubs bats were silent. And then, suddenly, they weren’t.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

This game began as had many in recent weeks. The Cubs fell behind, home runs were served up to the opposition, and Cubs batters did get on base in the early innings but were left frustratingly stranded.

Then something happened that’s been rare to date — Cubs hitters actually put together timely hits. With runners in scoring position, no less! Eleven men batted in a six-run sixth inning, and the Cubs put the game away with a three-run eighth. The satisfying 10-6 win over the Pirates was the Cubs’ fourth in their last five games.

It didn’t start out well. Andrew McCutchen, who seems rejuvenated since his return to Pittsburgh, led off the game against Drew Smyly with a home run. It was the 22nd leadoff homer of McCutchen’s career and his 28th all-time against the Cubs. That’s the fourth-most among active players (Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and Paul Goldschmidt have more). By the time the top of the first ended, the Pirates had a 3-0 lead thanks to another homer, a two-run job by Carlos Santana.

The Cubs did get one back in the bottom of the inning. Mike Tauchman led off with a single and moved to second one out later on a single by Seiya Suzuki. One out after that, Dansby Swanson singled in Tauchman [VIDEO].

But the Cubs left two runners on base. They left two more in the second, and this was starting to feel like “same old, same old.” The Pirates scored one more off Smyly in the third and another homer, by Austin Hedges, made it 5-1 Pirates heading to the bottom of the fourth, when the Cubs stranded two more runners. That’s six LOB in four innings, if you’ve lost count.

Smyly wound up completing six innings (allowing nine hits and five runs) and helped himself in part with this pickoff in the fifth [VIDEO].

Still, the Cubs trailed 5-1 heading to the bottom of the sixth. That’s when they put together a big inning without a single extra-base hit.

Swanson hit an infield grounder off Pirates pitcher Roansy Contreras that went for a hit. Christopher Morel singled him to second. One out later, Yan Gomes walked to load the bases.

Then something happened that I don’t recall seeing before [VIDEO].

On a 3-1 count, Contreras failed to offer a pitch before the pitch timer expired, so Nick Madrigal was awarded ball four and a run scored to make it 5-2.

Tauchman batted next [VIDEO].

That made it 5-4. Nico Hoerner flied to center, with Madrigal taking third. Suzuki walked to re-load the bases and Ian Happ gave the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].

Suzuki took second on that hit and moved up to third on a wild pitch, where he scored on this single by Swanson [VIDEO].

That made it 7-5 Cubs, and even though Morel struck out to end the inning, that was an excellent rally, the Cubs drawing walks and hitting singles one after the other. Well done.

The Pirates scored an unearned run off Michael Fulmer in the seventh to make it 7-6, but the Cubs put the game away in the eighth. Tauchman led off with a single, his third hit of the game. Another single by Nico Hoerner moved Tauchman to third. Suzuki brought both runners home with this double [VIDEO].

That made it 9-6 and after Suzuki moved up to third on an infield out, Trey Mancini singled in a 10th Cubs run [VIDEO].

Mark Leiter Jr. threw a scoreless eighth, and Adbert Alzolay, lined up for a save opportunity, finished up anyway even though it was no longer a save opp in the ninth. Alzolay allowed a single and issued a walk, but ended the game on this ground out [VIDEO].

A few thoughts:

  • Mike Tauchman has made himself extremely useful since Cody Bellinger went down with that knee injury a month ago. He doesn’t have much power (just three doubles in 23 games), but his .299/.415/.343 slash line works just fine and his defense, though not up to Bellinger’s Gold Glove standards, is decent enough that he might stick around when Bellinger returns, with Bellinger at first base.

Tauchman showed off some glove in the seventh inning:

I’m sure Tauchman is particularly enjoying doing all this for his hometown team, the team he grew up rooting for.

  • Dansby Swanson had three hits and a walk. Swanson was in a horrific slump (3-for-29 in eight games from June 3-10) but is 6-for-13 over his last three games. Hope that continues.
  • From BCB’s JohnW53:

Until the last two nights, the Cubs had not tallied at least 10 runs in back-to-back games since August 25 and 27, 2021. They lost both of those games: Game 2 of a doubleheader at home against the Rockies, 13-10 in 10 innings, then a loss to the White Sox on the South Side, 17-13.

They had played 261 games since then before last night.

The last time the Cubs scored in double digits and won both games was September 14-15, 2019, when they trounced the visiting Pirates, 14-1 and 16-6 to complete a three-game sweep that had begun with a 17-8 rout.

Last night’s game was the Cubs’ 465th since the 16-6 win.

So the Cubs have yet another chance for a three-game sweep Thursday night at Wrigley Field. They have not swept a series at home this year. Their only three-game sweep this season was in Oakland in April; their last sweep at Wrigley Field was last September, when they swept back-to-back three-game sets against the Phillies and Reds. They have won the first two games of a series five times this year only to lose the series finale. That was accomplished against the Rangers, Mariners, Marlins, Mets, Rays, and also this past weekend against the Giants in San Francisco.

Hopefully, the result will be different tonight, and with Marcus Stroman on the mound for the Cubs, they’ve got a very good chance. Johan Oviedo will be the Pirates’ starter. Game time is again 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.