Left-hander Cole Hamels, making his Cubs debut, struck out nine and gave up one unearned run in five innings Wednesday as Chicago clobbered the host Pittsburgh Pirates 9-2 to split a two-game series.
Willson Contreras hit his ninth homer for the Cubs, who pounded out 15 hits. Contreras, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist each had three hits.
Hamels (6-9) gave up three hits and walked two. Reliever Brandon Kintzler, also making his Cubs debut, gave up one hit in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Pittsburgh starter Nick Kingham (5-6) lasted one inning, giving up four runs (two earned) and three hits with a walk and a strikeout. He made 51 pitches.
Chicago put together its four-run first with the ball leaving the infield just once.
Anthony Rizzo led off with a walk, went to third on Zobrist’s double to the wall in right and scored on Heyward’s groundout. Javy Baez reached on second baseman Sean Rodriguez’s error, bringing home Zobrist.
After Ian Happ was hit by a pitch, Baez got hung up on an ill-advised attempt to steal third, but he scored on Kingham’s throwing error to make it 3-0. Happ scored on Kyle Schwarber’s infield hit.
Pittsburgh scored in the bottom of the first on Francisco Cervelli’s two-out RBI single after Jordan Luplow reached on shortstop Addison Russell’s error and Starling Marte singled.
The Cubs added two more in the second. Steven Brault walked both Happ and Contreras with the bases loaded to make it 6-1.
In the third, plate umpire Chris Guccione left two batters after he got clocked in the mask by a Heyward foul tip.
Pirates reliever Alex McCrae took over in the fifth in his major league debut. He gave up one run in three innings, on Rizzo’s bases-loaded grounder in the sixth.
Contreras added a two-run homer to left in the eighth off Richard Rodriguez for a 9-1 lead.
Pittsburgh’s Jose Osuna drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the eighth.
—Field Level Media