The Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t complete a ninth-inning comeback in their 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs and it there was a sense of déjà vu to the game.
Much like in the Opening Day loss, the Pirates got a strong outing from its starting pitcher.
James McDonald allowed just two hits and one run in seven innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen.
“I was happy with the way I competed. Every pitch meant something to me,” McDonald said. “I went out there and went straight after guys and did OK.”
McDonald struck out four and gave up two walks and at one point retired 11 consecutive batters until walking Brent Schierholtz in the seventh. The bullpen — which had yet to allow a hit and a strong point for the team in the first two games of the season — let up two more runs that gave the Cubs just enough breathing room as it turned out.
“I’m really happy for (McDonald) individually because he got a chance of really playing up for us,” Hurdle said. “Big picture, you want your team to win. If you can’t win, for James McDonald to go out and throw seven innings like that and one run — we couldn’t have hoped for much more than that. he was very, very, very good today.”
Just like in the Opening Day loss, the Pirates provided nearly no offensive backup for their pitching staff — at least until the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol gave the Bucs a glimmer of hope before ultimately coming up short.
Pittsburgh managed just one hit — a Clint Barmes double in the third inning — prior to the ninth inning. By the time the team put together any offense it was too late. Andrew McCutchen played a big role in that ninth inning rally with an RBI single. He struck out twice earlier in the game, and stole two bases.
“We had the opportunity. We didn’t get the job done. Good teams get the job done, we’ve just got to learn from that and do better next time,” McCutchen said. “It’s not like we’re getting killed 15 to nothing. The games are close there’s just a couple key things we’ve got to do. We’ve had the opportunity to win, we just didn’t get it.”
Today was a travel day for me as well. I’ll have more notes and insight from Thursday’s game looking forward to Friday’s road game Los Angeles (which James Santelli will be covering) tomorrow.Pirates Prospects is FREE today in honor of the Wild Card game. You get special access to all of our content, which is typically reserved only for subscribers. We cover the Pirates 365 days a year, with live coverage all throughout the playoffs, and off-season coverage of the minor league players in the Arizona Fall League and Winter Leagues. During the season we average well over 6 articles per day on the Pirates. This is the best stop if you're a hardcore Pirates fan, and the subscription prices are very low.
Our lowest rates are $2.22 per month under our Top Prospect Plan, which also gets you a FREE copy of the 2016 Prospect Guide -- a book that features profiles on every prospect in the system. We also have a promotion with DraftKings where you can get a FREE one-year subscription to the site by signing up as a new DraftKings customer and making a $5 minimum deposit. Subscribe today for our full playoff coverage, and all of our daily coverage of the Pirates' system.