WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Jose Quintana pitched seven crisp innings, Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer and the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1 on Sunday night in the MLB Little League Classic.
Nicholas Castellanos and Jason Heyward also connected as Chicago earned its second straight win since consecutive heartbreaking losses to the Phillies and Pirates.
The Cubs took two of three in the unusual weekend set and remain in a virtual tie with St. Louis for the top spot in the NL Central. It was the first road series win for Chicago since May 17-19 against Washington.
Starling Marte had three hits for Pittsburgh, including his 21st homer in the ninth against Craig Kimbrel.
With grinning Little Leaguers dressed in their uniforms filling the stands BB&T Ballpark, Quintana (11-7) allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked none. The left-hander improved to 7-0 in nine starts since his last loss June 22.
Castellanos went deep in the first inning against Mitch Keller (1-2), and Heyward added another solo shot in the third. It was Castellanos’ sixth homer since coming over in a July 31 trade with Detroit.
The Cubs added two more in the fourth on Kyle Schwarber’s two-run single, and then put it away with three in the fifth.
Kris Bryant chased Keller with a run-scoring double, and Rizzo made it 7-0 when he greeted Chris Stratton with a drive off the scoreboard in left-center for his 23rd homer.
Last-place Pittsburgh dropped to 7-27 since the All-Star break. Keller was charged with six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Kimbrel, who was activated from the 10-injured list before the game, got the first two outs in the ninth in his first game since Aug. 3. He gave up Marte’s homer and hit Cole Tucker before striking out two.
Chicago manager Joe Maddon grew up in Hazelton, about 70 miles east of Williamsport.
“Getting off the plane and seeing how excited the kids were was really special,” he said. “Even the team from Valenzuela, they didn’t speak a whole lot of English, none really, but they wanted to engage.”
Cubs: Kimbrel was sidelined with right knee inflammation.
Pirates: Catcher Francisco Cervelli continues his rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. He was placed on the injured list on May 26 with a concussion.
Cubs: Following an off day, LHP Cole Hamels (6-4, 3.69 ERA) starts Tuesday against San Francisco after allowing a season-high eight runs Aug. 14 at Philadelphia.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (5-5, 5.25 ERA) looks for a win in a second straight start, against Washington on Monday.
© 2019 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.