The first win of the 2014 season, and of the Ricky Renteria era. All you can really say is: whew.
Jason Hammel was fantastic today in his Cubs debut, keeping Pirate hitters off-balance, and working in the zone all day. The only run he allowed came on his only walk of the day … after he’d departed the game.
The Cubs took an early lead with a single run in each of the first three innings (including a Mike Olt homer and an actual hit with a runner in scoring position (from Anthony Rizzo)), and that was all they got. Things got dicey in the 7th, with the Pirates getting two, and leaving the tying run on second base when Brian Schlitter got Pedro Alvarez out on a dribbler back to the mound.
It was a little unnerving in the 9th, with Neil Walker singling on the first pitch Pedro Strop threw, but a caught bunt and a caught line drive double play later, and Strop had recorded all of the outs in the inning without a strikeout. Don’t see that too often.
But I can’t get over the big early-season story …