(SportsNetwork.com) – Pittsburgh righty Gerrit Cole goes after his fourth
straight win on Wednesday when the Pirates try to avoid a three-game sweep at
the hands of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Cole did not get a decision in his season debut, but has reeled off three
straight wins since, while giving up just one earned run in each outing. He
was terrific in Arizona on Friday, as he held the D-backs to a run and seven
hits in 7 2/3 innings to lower his ERA to 2.19.
He also struck out seven and walked two, improving to 7-0 since Sept. 7 last
season. Cole has also struck out 27 batters in 24 2/3 innings.
“I just kept a good delivery throughout the game and tried to stay in a good
rhythm,” Cole said. “Just kept trying to stay aggressive.”
Staying in the win column may not be an issue on Wednesday, as Cole has beaten
the Cubs all five times he’s faced them, pitching to a 3.48 ERA in the
Chicago, meanwhile, will turn to righty Kyle Hendricks, who is still looking
for his first win. Hendricks did not get a decision for the third straight
game on Thursday in Pittsburgh, as the Pirates reached him for three runs and
five hits in 5 1/3 innings of the Cubs’ 5-4 loss.
Hendricks, who will be making his second-ever start versus the Bucs, has a
5.74 ERA this season
Chicago won its fourth straight game on Tuesday, as Dexter Fowler went 3-for-4
with two RBI to power the Cubs to a 6-2 victory.
Starlin Castro finished with three hits, two runs scored and an RBI, while
Junior Lake, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell also drove in a run apiece for
the Cubs, who have won six of eight.
Starter Travis Wood (2-1) was solid in the win, surrendering just two runs on
five hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in seven innings of work.
“When your starting pitchers go deep into the game, all of a sudden your
bullpen gets better,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s an easy equation.”
Starling Marte provided a two-run homer for the Pirates, who have dropped two
straight on the heels of a five-game win streak.
Jeff Locke (2-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up six runs — five
earned — on eight hits and three walks over 3 2/3 frames.
“You have to be able to get ahead of these guys and try to put them away as
soon as you can,” said Locke. “It kind of slipped away.”
The Pirates took two of three from the Cubs last week.