Fri, Sep 01, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Schwarber hits two homers as Cubs rout Pirates


Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning of their National League game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

The Chicago Cubs are piling up runs and wins, and they are having some laughs along the way.

Kyle Schwarber on Wednesday hit two home runs, while Ian Happ and Anthony Rizzo also went deep to back Jose Quintana as the Cubs pounded the Pittsburgh Pirates 17-3.

Chicago tied a season high for runs set against Philadelphia on Saturday and banged out 20 hits to match their highest total since May 12, 2014, in St Louis, Missouri.

The Cubs (72-60) outscored the Pirates 27-5 in a three-game sweep and moved 12 games above .500 for the first time this year. They also remained 3.5 games ahead of Milwaukee for the National League Central lead.

The laughs came in the sixth inning.

Starling Marte made a rather easy catch on Happ’s drive to the left-field corner, except the Cubs rookie did not see the umpire’s signal. He just sprinted toward third, but instead of a triple to complete the cycle, he made an easy out.

Watching from the video room, all Schwarber could do was laugh.

“He comes in, lays down, I go: ‘What are you doing?’ [Happ said] I didn’t see the umpire make the out call,’” Schwarber said.

Happ helped stake Chicago to a 5-2 lead with an RBI single in the first and two-run drive off Ivan Nova in the third. Happ also had an RBI double.

As for the non-triple?

“It’s tough to see down the line,” Happ said. “I knew it was going to be in the corner. I didn’t know if it was going to be against the wall or not. Marte tracked it down pretty easily. I was hauling.”

Rizzo hit his 31st homer, scored three runs and drove in two. Schwarber came through with his second multi-homer game of the season, with two-run drives in the fifth and seventh, while Javier Baez became the first Cubs player in seven years to steal home.

Quintana (5-3) held Pittsburgh to three runs and four hits in six innings. He retired 14 in a row after giving up two runs in the first and also had an RBI single.

Nova (11-12) lasted just three innings in his shortest outing of the year, allowing five runs (four earned) and three hits after getting roughed up in Cincinnati, Ohio, last week.

“I don’t think it’s mechanical,” Nova said. “I left a lot of pitches over the plate, missing a lot on top of the plate. I’ve got to get the pitch down in the strike zone. They took good advantage.”

Rizzo had just driven in Kris Bryant with a double off the left-field wall to break a 2-2 tie in the third when Happ drove a two-run homer about two-thirds of the way up the right-field bleachers to push the lead to three. That gave the Cubs a club record six players with 20 or more homers.

Chicago broke it open in the fifth, sending 10 batters to the plate. Baez had a two-run double and Schwarber finished the rally with his drive to left-center against A.J. Schugel.

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