Cubs Offense Erupts in Historic Sweep of Pirates

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The HBCU day kick-off party brought the bats to life at Wrigley Field last Friday as there were a total of nine first inning runs scored by the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs posted a season-best 17 runs, defeating the Pirates in a contest that included home runs from, Nicholas Castellanos, Willson Contreras, Nico Hoerner (first career HR) and Anthony Rizzo. Castellanos, traded to the Cubs from the Detroit Tigers and Hoerner, brought up from Double-A, have both made an immediate impact on the lineup.

The offense stayed locked in for game two on Saturday with 14 hits and dominated the Pirates by a score of 14-1.  With his family present, Hoerner had himself a day with three hits, including a home run, scoring three times and driving in three runs of his own. With the wind blowing out an average 14 mph between the first two games, three other Cubs sent souvenirs into the bleachers: Kris Bryant, Victor Caratini, and 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist. Hoerner’s bomb in the sixth inning set a new franchise record for most homers in a season.

The final game ended with adolescent brooms dashing across the diamond. On Sundays at Wrigley Field, children are allowed to run the bases after the game. During the game, history was being made with nearly 40,000 fans in attendance. The battle scarred Cubs lit up the record books in a 16-6 victory for the series sweep over the Pirates.

Anthony Rizzo exited the game after rolling his ankle early in the third inning. He led off the game with a walk, followed by an MLB-best 54th double by Nicholas Castellanos. Kris Bryant then got fans hyped up early with a three-run blast to give the Cubs the lead. Starting pitcher Jose Quintana gave up five runs in the third following the Rizzo exit.

Bryant hit his second home run of the game in the bottom half of the third. The Cubs answered back by scoring five runs, including a near inside-the-park home run in unusual fashion. After a sacrifice-fly run driven in by Victor Caratini, Tony Kemp scored Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward with a pinch-hit triple. Pirates’ pitcher Michael Feliz then attempted to appeal by throwing to third base (implying that either Zobrist or Heyward did not step on the base). Tony Kemp was safe at home within the next few seconds.

Feliz had overthrown the ball toward the crowd at Wrigley before the next pitch was thrown. Kemp easily jogged in to put the Cubs up 8-5 in the third. Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, and Jonathan Lucroy also sent souvenir shots to the bleachers in the victory.   

The 47 runs the Cubs scored in the three-game set with the Pirates set a new franchise record (second all-time for any MLB team since 1901). The 33 run differential is also a new franchise record in a three game set. Kris Bryant’s two HR game puts his career total to 138, the most for any Cubs player within the first five seasons of their career.


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