Cubs blank Pirates
CHICAGO — Keegan Thompson combined with three relievers on a five-hitter, and the Chicago Cubs shut out he Pittsburgh Pirates for the second straight game, a 7-0 win Tuesday night that extended their winning streak to a season-best four.
Jonathan Villar hit a go-ahead, solo homer in the third and added an RBI single.
Pittsburgh has not scored since the eighth inning Sunday, when the Pirates beat Cincinnati 1-0 despite not getting any hits. The Pirates had five hits Tuesday and have just nine in three games, dropping their batting average to .223. The shutout was the fifth against Pittsburgh this season.
Pinch-hitter Christopher Morel homered in the ninth in his first major league at-bat, connecting on a full-count fastball from Chase De Jong to became the first Cubs player to go deep in his first at-bat since Willson Contreras on June 19, 2016.
Daniel Norris left after one out because of right Achilles soreness. Brandon Hughes, a 26-year-old left-hander, made his major league debut and recorded his first five outs via strikeouts, while walking one.
Mark Leiter Jr. allowed one hit over the final two innings.
JT Brubaker (0-4) gave up six runs — four earned — and six hits in six innings while striking out a career-high 10.
Rookie Seiya Suzuki doubled in two runs to spark a five-run fourth inning. Frank Schwindel also had an RBI double on a chilly, drizzly night as Chicago improved to 6-11 at Wrigley Field.
Portly Pittsburgh designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, listed at 6 feet and 270 pounds, chugged out the first triple in his seven-year big career with one out in the fourth.
Vogelback lofted a drive to the bend in Wrigley’s left-field wall where Ian Happ jumped, but couldn’t make the catch. The ball caromed to the left-field corner, giving Vogelbach time rumble into third.
The next hitter, Yoshi Tsutsugo, lifted a fly down the right field line that was caught by Suzuki. Vogelbach tried to score, but was thrown out and didn’t even reach the plate on his slide.
Contreras gave Vogelbach what appeared to by a playful pat, but the two started jawing and both benches emptied. The confrontation didn’t last long and players went back to their dugouts and bullpens.
The Cubs recalled INF/OF Morel from Double-A Tennessee and optioned LHP Conner Menez to Iowa on Tuesday.
PIRATES: SS Kevin Newman (groin) went 0 for 2 with a walk as he began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday.
CUBS: Placed OF Jason Heyward on the IL with no designation and selected contract of Hughes from Triple-A Iowa. Manager David Ross said Heyward is “doing OK” and added “he had some real stuff” that included body aches and hydration issues. Heyward, a five-time Gold Glove winner, is the third Cub recently put on the IL with no designation. … RHPs Marcus Stroman and David Robertson also have been sidelined. Stroman has been cleared to return and threw a bullpen session on Tuesday.
Cubs LHP Drew Smyly (1-4, 3.64) is slated to start on Wednesday in the season finale.