The Cubs offense needed a good day. They got a little more Saturday.
During their 21-0 win over the Pirates that ended a four-game losing streak, the Cubs pounded out 23 hits and batted around twice. Their eight-run second was the Cubs’ first inning with at least that many since May 21, 2021. Before leaving in the fifth for a pinch-hitter, right fielder Seiya Suzuki bounced back from a recent 10 at-bat hitless drought with three hits, three runs scored and a run batted in.
The win is the Cubs’ most lopsided shutout victory since 1901, topping 19-0 wins in 1906 and 1969.
With the wind blowing out on a day that felt more like summer in front of an announced crowd of 39,917, Cubs first baseman Alfonso Rivas drove in fiveruns and hit a three-run home run that didn’t need any assistance from the breeze. By scoring 21runs, the Cubs exceeded the 12 they put up during their four-game skid.
Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, meanwhile, didn’t need much support.
Hendricks threw seven scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out two while walking none. After surrendering a career-high 31 home runs last year, Hendricks generally kept the Pirates out of the air, getting eight groundouts.
The same could not be said for Pirates starter Zach Thompson.
In the first, Suzuki, Willson Conteras and then Ian Happ singled off Thompson, with Happ bringing in Suzuki to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. The Cubs had a chance for more, but Jason Heyward popped out with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Suzuki got his second single and drove in Nico Hoerner when his soft grounder snuck into right field to bump the Cubs’ lead to 2-0. Contreras then sent a sharp single through a drawn-in Pittsburgh infield to increase the Cubs’ edge to 4-0.
Then the Pirates defense contributed, as shortstop Kevin Newman made two errors on grounders that could’ve ended the inning, with the second allowing two runs to score. Rivas then punished the Pirates further, cranking a three-run homer to cap the Cubs’ eight-run inning.
Hendricks retired the first nine Pirates before former Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach hit a fly ball to the left-field corner that Happ couldn’t corral and fell in for a double. Hendricks and the Cubs got out of the inning when Patrick Wisdom made a leaping grab of a Yoshi Tsutsugo liner, stranding Vogelbach at third.
Rivas struck again in the Cubs’ two-run fourth when his single down the left-field line brought in Jonathan Villar. The lead swelled to 11-0 when Heyward scored on Hoerner’s soft chopper between home and the pitcher’s mound.
The Cubs didn’t let up in the fifth, scoring five more times. Contreras, Happ and Heyward had run-scoring doubles and Rivas and Hoerner chipped in with RBI singles.
Hoerner also added an RBI single in the seventh.
In the eighth, the Pirates used outfielder Diego Castillo to pitch, and the results were predictable. Wisdom had an RBI single and Villar single brought in two to give the Cubs 20 runs. Heyward grounded into a double play with Wisdom crossing home to finally cap the scoring.