Gregory Polanco’s bases-loaded triple highlighted a five-run sixth inning Sunday as the Pittsburgh Pirates avoided a series sweep with a 7-1 rout of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Ivan Nova (3-5), making his first start since a stint on the 10-day disabled list, picked up the win by going 5 2/3 innings. Nova allowed just four hits and a run, walking two and fanning eight as Pittsburgh won for just the second time in eight games.
Kyle Hendricks (4-6) was tagged with the loss despite pitching well in a five-inning outing. Hendricks gave up three hits and a run, issuing two walks and striking out four.
However, Hendricks’ only mistake occurred almost immediately. Leadoff man Josh Harrison jumped on a meaty sinker, winning an eight-pitch battle by launching a 369-foot shot into the bleachers in left-center field for his third homer of the year.
The score stayed 1-0 as Nova maneuvered out of trouble in the fifth, inducing a double-play ball from pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella with men at first and second and none out. Nova then whiffed Javier Baez to end the threat.
The Pirates, who have lost six straight series, ended the game’s competitive phase in the sixth against relievers Brian Duensing and Luke Farrell. Austin Meadows led off with a double and moved to third on Corey Dickerson’s groundout.
Colin Moran walked ahead of an RBI single by Elias Diaz that made it 2-0. Following a walk to Josh Bell, Farrell came in to face Polanco. Farrell left a fastball out over the plate’s heart and Polanco ripped it into the right field corner for three runs. Jordy Mercer capped the inning with an RBI single.
The Cubs got their only run in the bottom of the sixth when Jason Heyward doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Anthony Rizzo’s infield out.
Pittsburgh finished the scoring in the eighth as David Freese rapped into a fielder’s choice, chasing Bell home.
—Field Level Media