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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates series recap

The Chicago Cubs took care of business in Pittsburgh over the weekend when they took three of four from the Pirates. The highlight of the series was the MLB debut of left-handed starting pitcher Jordan Wicks. After giving up a home run to the first batter he faced, Wicks settled down to give the Cubs five innings of one-run ball while striking out nine. The Cubs won that game 10-6 on the backs of the heart of their order. Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger, and Seiya Suzuki, who hit 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the game went a combined 5-14 with 8 RBIs, 5 runs, and 1 walk. Chicago is really tough to beat when those guys are hitting the way they have been over the last few weeks.

The series started on Thursday with the Cubs winning an extra-inning game 5-4. Happ had the big hit in that one when his bloop single scored Mike Tauchmann and Dansby Swanson. Justin Steele started that game and was fantastic once again. He gave up just two runs over six innings while striking out 6. Steele’s ERA for the season is a minuscule 2.80. Adbert Alzolay pitched the tenth inning and gave up one unearned run to earn his 20th save of the season.

Friday’s game was a rough one for the Cubs’ offense. They were only able to manage four hits off of Pirates’ starter Mitch Keller in eight innings. Kyle Hendricks was solid for the Cubs on the other side giving up two runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. Happ made it interesting in the 9th with a solo home run off of close David Bednar, but it wasn’t enough. Chicago lost the game 2-1.

Sunday saw the Cubs get a much-needed blowout win. The Cubs have played so many close games lately that the bullpen guys David Ross really trusts have been used seemingly every day. They were able to get the day off on Sunday with the Cubs winning 10-1. Javier Assad turned in another quality start allowing one run over seven innings to earn the win. Bellinger chipped in three hits, five RBIs, and two runs on the day.

The Cubs have a huge week ahead with the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers coming to Wrigley Field for a three-game set. Chicago will then travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds in a four-game series that includes a doubleheader on Friday. As good as the Cubs have been over the last two weeks, the Brewers have been even better. The Cubs now trail the Brewers by four games in the NL Central.

NL Central Standings:

Milwaukee Brewers 73-57

Chicago Cubs 69-61 4.0 GB

Cincinnati Reds 68-64 6.0 GB

Pittsburgh Pirates 58-73 11.0 GB

St. Louis Cardinals 56-75 13.0 GB

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