Gregory Polanco beat the defensive shift with an RBI single to left field to drive home the game-winning run for the Pittsburgh Pirates as they came back from a 4-1 deficit to defeat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 Thursday afternoon. The RBI was Polanco's second of the game.
With two outs and a full count on him in the bottom of the seventh, Polanco poked a bouncer into the vacated hole at shortstop and into left field (video). Josh Harrison, who doubled to reach earlier in the inning, scored on what appeared as a routine ground ball to shortstop that would likely have turned into an inning-ending double play. However, Starlin Castro was playing behind the second base bag for the left-handed hitter.
One inning earlier, Polanco started a three-run rally that eventually tied the game when he doubled home Harrison. Neil Walker and Jordy Mercer later singled home the game-tying runs.
Chicago took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second via Jonathan Herrera's two-run triple that scored Welington Castillo and Addison Russell. The Cubs got single runs in the fourth (Russell RBI double) and fifth (Kris Bryant RBI walk).
Pittsburgh scored its first run in the bottonm of the second on Sean Rodriguez's solo home run (1). Polanco and his teammates took over in the sixth and seventh.
Radhames Liz (W: 1-1, 3.86 ERA) benefited from the Polanco's clutch hit to pick up the win in relief. He pitched two innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. Starter Jeff Locke pitched five innings. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits; he also walked three and fanned seven.
Brian Schlitter (L: 0-2, 9.53) allowed Harrison's seventh-inning double ahead of Polanco's single to take the loss. He lasted 1/3 of an inning before giving way to Phil Coke. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks watched another win slip away, but he had his own hand in it this time. Hendricks allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed five hits, including Rodriguez's home run. Edwin Jackson gets credit for a blown save (1) by letting two runs score, one unearned and charged to him.
On Friday, the Cubs end their road trip with a three-game weekend series at the Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh begins a road trip with three games with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs and Pirates will play three more in Wrigley Field beginning Monday night.