The Pittsburgh Pirates (1-2) rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon, but their attempt at a come-from-behind victory fell short when Pedro Alvarez struck out and Neil Walker grounded into a game-ending double play. The result was a 3-2 Cubs victory, and a 2-games-to-1 win for Chicago in the team’s season-opening series.
The Pirates entered the ninth frame with only one hit, a double by Clint Barmes, but Starling Marte opened the inning with a single, and after Russell Martin walked, Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez drove home individual runs with singles. The Bucs could not push home the tying run.
For the Cubs (2-1), Starlin Castro drove home the game’s first run with a third-inning single, and Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run, ninth-inning home run off Pirates reliever Jared Hughes.
The loss went to Pittsburgh starter James McDonald, even though he allowed only one run and two hits over seven innings. McDonald struck out four batters and walked two. Travis Wood earned the win, surrendering just one hit over six innings, also closing with four strikeouts and two walks.
On Friday night, the Pirates will begin a three-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles with Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Sanchez scheduled to start against the Dodgers’ Zach Greinke.