CHICAGO (AP)Loud music poured out of the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field, accompanied by a multicolor light show.
A day after an ugly loss, the Pittsburgh Pirates were all smiles.
Dillon Peters keyed a solid performance by Pittsburgh’s bullpen and Kevin Newman had two hits, helping the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Sunday.
”I give credit to our bullpen,” manager Derek Shelton said. ”Anytime that we didn’t make a play or something happened, they stepped up and picked us up, and I think that’s a sign of a good team.”
Peters (3-0) pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of an ill JT Brubaker, providing the Pirates with a big lift after their 21-0 loss Saturday. The left-hander surrendered a hit for the first time this season – Jonathan Villar’s fourth-inning single – but managed to run his opening scoreless streak to 10 1/3 innings over five appearances.
Heath Hembree surrendered Ian Happ’s first homer of the season in the eighth, but David Bednar worked the ninth for his second save. Peters, Wil Crowe, Hembree, Chris Stratton and Bednar combined for six innings of one-run ball on a rainy afternoon that turned into partly cloudy skies by the end of the game.
”Our bullpen’s been throwing pretty well and hope to continue that and pull for one another and keep this thing snowballing,” Peters said.
Newman, Yoshi Tsutsugo and Ben Gamel each drove in a run for the Pirates, who took three of four in the series.
A day after it collected 23 hits during a historic romp, Chicago lost for the fifth time in six games overall. Villar committed a throwing error that brought home a run in the fourth, and the Cubs left 11 runners on base, including seven over the final three innings.
With runners on second and third in the ninth, Willson Contreras struck out swinging for the second out. After Happ was walked intentionally, Frank Schwindel also struck out swinging on three straight fastballs from Bednar – each registering at least 97.2 mph.
”You dream of those spots to be in,” Bednar said, ”and coming out on top and help the team win is all that matters.”
Bednar has a sparkling 0.80 ERA in 28 games since last year’s All-Star break. Crowe extended his scoreless streak to begin the season to 13 1/3 innings.
”We all feed off one another,” Crowe said, ”and we all know how good our stuff can be if we trust it.”
The Cubs got off to another solid start, scoring in the first inning for the third time in the series. They have 16 first-inning runs over 16 games this season.
Ortega scampered home on a rare error by slick-fielding third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Schwindel added an RBI single. But Brubaker limited the damage by striking out Villar and Jason Heyward.
Pittsburgh got one back on Gamel’s RBI single in the second, and then went ahead to stay with two in the third against Justin Steele (1-2). Tsutsugo hit a sacrifice fly and Newman drove in Hayes with a tiebreaking double.
”Kind of lost my command with my four-seam and my spin as the second and third inning went on,” Steele said.
The Pirates added another arm to their pitching staff, bringing up right-hander Beau Sulser from Triple-A Indianapolis. It’s the first major league promotion for Sulser, the brother of Miami Marlins reliever Cole Sulser. To make room on Pittsburgh’s 40- and 28-man rosters, outfielder Anthony Alford was designated for assignment.
Cubs: RHP Alec Mills (low back strain) pitched three innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Iowa on Saturday, allowing three runs and eight hits. He is expected to make another rehab start with Iowa on Thursday or Friday. … LHP Wade Miley (elbow inflammation) threw about 50 pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday. He is expected to throw a live BP on Wednesday.
Pirates: Following an off day, RHP Mitch Keller (0-3, 6.23 ERA) starts Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series against Milwaukee. RHP Brandon Woodruff (2-1, 4.30 ERA) pitches for the visiting Brewers.
Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (0-2, 8.78 ERA) starts Tuesday night at Atlanta in the opener of a six-game trip. LHP Max Fried (1-2, 3.50 ERA) pitches for the Braves.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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