CHICAGO (AP) — Tyler Chatwood matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in another terrific performance, and the Chicago Cubs used the long ball to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Saturday night.
Javier Báez, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ hit home runs as Chicago won for the fifth time in six games. The Cubs have homered in each of their first eight games for the first time since 1958.
Schwarber’s two-run shot in the eighth made it 4-0 and led to chants of “Kyle Schwarber! Kyle Schwarber!” from a vocal rooftop crowd in foul territory in left.
Chatwood (2-0) departed after Pittsburgh loaded the bases with two out in the seventh. Jeremy Jeffress came in and retired Phillip Evans on a grounder to third.
The Pirates got three in the ninth on Colin Moran’s two-run homer off Kyle Ryan and Gregory Polanco’s run-scoring groundout. But Rowan Wick got pinch hitter José Osuna to bounce into a fielder’s choice for his third career save.
Cubs manager David Ross stayed away from Craig Kimbrel one day after the closer surrendered home runs by Josh Bell and Moran in the ninth inning of a 6-3 victory.
Chatwood had control issues in his first season with Chicago in 2018, but the right-hander was better last year. He is off to a great start in 2020, allowing one run and six hits in 12 2/3 innings over his first two outings.
The Pirates finished with six hits in their fourth loss in five games. They began the day with a major league-low .177 team batting average.
Pittsburgh also lost Mitch Keller (1-1) in the third inning because of left side discomfort. The right-hander, one of the team’s top young arms, was visited by a trainer after he bounced a curveball to Willson Contreras with two out. After a short conversation, he walked off the mound and was replaced by Chris Stratton.
The 24-year-old Keller surrendered long drives by Happ and Báez earlier in the inning. Happ’s one-out shot traveled an estimated 405 feet, and Báez’s 448-foot blast hit the batter’s eye in center with two out.
Pirates right-hander Michael Feliz also departed with an apparent injury after he was unable to record an out in the eighth.
Cubs: 3B Kris Bryant was scratched because of gastrointestinal issues. David Bote replaced him at third. … LHP José Quintana (thumb surgery) threw 38 pitches in a bullpen session. He is scheduled for another bullpen on Monday. … Contreras was hit on his left forearm by a pitch in the sixth, but he stayed in the game.
Steven Brault and Jon Lester start the series finale in a matchup of left-handers. Brault threw two scoreless innings for Pittsburgh on Monday night before its home opener was delayed by rain. Brault likely will be followed by right-hander Chad Kuhl, part of an early season experiment by first-year manager Derek Shelton. Lester (1-0) pitched five hitless innings in his first start Monday at Cincinnati.
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