Travis Snider’s 6th-inning grand slam propelled the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-4 home win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night, the Bucs’ ninth victory in their last 11 games.
The win went to Pittsburgh starter Wandy Rodriguez (5-2; 3.40 ERA), and closer Jason Grilli earned his 18th save in 18 opportunities, despite the fact he allowed three baserunners and one run in the ninth inning. Grilli struck out Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo to end the game.
The Cubs took a 3-0 lead off Rodriguez in the top of the second inning on Darwin Barney’s RBI single and a two-run double by Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza in Garza’s first at-bat of the season. The Pirates (27-18) loaded the bases against the Cubs’ bullpen in the sixth inning with a double by Neil Walker, a single by Garrett Jones and a walk to Russell Martin, and earned their first run of the contest when Pedro Alvarez was walked. Snider followed with the “granny,” his second homer of the season.
Chicago (18-26) completed the scoring in the top of the ninth inning when Barney tripled and scored on a single by Starlin Castro.
Rodriguez lasted six innings, allowed three runs and six hits, struck out five batters and walked none. Garza, who made his first start of the season due to a back injury he suffered during spring training, pitched scoreless one-hit baseball through five innings, but was lifted before the Bucs’ big sixth inning after throwing 82 pitches. Chicago used three pitchers in the sixth frame, and the loss went to James Russell, although Snider’s grand slam was belted off Shawn Camp.
Jordy Mercer had two hits for the Pirates, who were outhit 11-8. Barney went 4-for-4 for the Cubs.
In the second game of their three game series at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Bucs will send Francisco Liriano (2-0; 1.64 ERA) against the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzjia (2-5; 3.49 ERA). Liriano will be making his third start of the year.