An error by Pittsburgh second baseman Wilmer Difo allowed the winning run to score as the Chicago Cubs beat the visiting Pirates 6-5 in 11 innings on Thursday night.
Difo could not corral an infield popup, which allowed Sergio Alcantara to cross the plate. The miscue gave the Cubs their first three-game winning streak since June 8-13, when they won five straight.
Rafael Ortega and Ian Happ homered during a five-run seventh inning for the Cubs. Ortega hit a three-run blast and Happ socked a two-run shot.
Colin Moran hit a three-run homer to lead the Pirates. Pittsburgh has dropped three games in a row and five of its past six.
Cubs right-hander Codi Heuer (6-2) pitched a scoreless inning of relief to get the win. He gave up no hits and no walks while striking out one.
Pirates left-hander Sam Howard (2-3) took the loss out of the bullpen. He gave up one unearned run and walked one while retiring only one batter in the bottom of the 11th.
The extra-inning drama followed a strong start by Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller, who struck out eight over six scoreless innings. Keller scattered six hits and walked none.
Pittsburgh quickly grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first. Ben Gamel drew a one-out walk, Bryan Reynolds singled and Moran ripped his eighth homer of the season to left-center field.
The Cubs stayed quiet until the seventh. Robinson Chirinos and Alcantara reached on back-to-back hits against Chad Kuhl. Ortega delivered two batters later with a homer over the right field wall, his ninth of the year, to make it 3-3.
Frank Schwindel singled in the next at-bat, and Happ put the Cubs on top with a 393-foot homer to right. It was Happ’s 18th homer of the season and the 80th of his career.
The Pirates rallied with two runs in the ninth off Rowan Wick to even the score at 5-5. Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out after Chirinos was called for catcher’s interference, and pinch hitter Michael Perez delivered with a two-run single to extend the game.
–Field Level Media