The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Hammel has 'rough' outing in Cubs' soggy 4-2 loss to Pirates

  • Print

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Jason Hammel had been one of the majors' best starters when it came to limiting baserunners. He looked anything but on Wednesday.

Hammel allowed 11 hits in five innings and the Chicago Cubs lost for the third time in four games, 4-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates at rain-soaked PNC Park.

"It was rough," Hammel said. "A lot of hits given up. Up in the zone. Obviously could have been better strikes thrown, but I battled through. It could have been a lot worse — 11 hits through five innings? It's amazing they only put up four."

Luis Valbuena continued his recent strong hitting with three hits for last-place Chicago, which has lost three of four after a season-best five-game winning streak.

Hammel had won two previous starts against the Pirates this season and entered Wednesday with the second-best WHIP in the majors (0.88).

But he was flat from the beginning, and Hammel denied that the 1-hour, 38-minute rain delay at the start of the game had anything to do with it.

"Honestly, I thought I did a pretty good job for as many baserunners as I had tonight," he said. "It was definitely a battle. It was a grind. You've just got to keep pitching, keep throwing strikes. Good slider tonight. Just fastball command was a little up."

Hammel (6-4) was spared a worse line by some poor baserunning by Pittsburgh, which hit into two peculiar double plays and had another runner thrown out at third during the seventh inning after Hammel was out of the game.

Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer in the first inning and reached base four times for Pittsburgh, which has taken two of the first three games of the series with their NL Central rivals.

McCutchen's fly ball landed more than a row into the left-field seats — but it almost became an extra-long out when left fielder Chris Coghlan leaped into the stands. He landed in the seats and said he had a read on the ball but that a fan outmanoeuvred him for it.

"Best non-catch effort I've ever seen," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.

McCutchen is batting .462 during a seven-game hitting streak and has 12 extra-base hits during 10 June games.

"I would have went there and shook his hand myself if he caught that ball," he said.

McCutchen's 10th homer snapped Hammel's streaks of 14 1-3 innings without allowing a run and 52 innings without allowing a homer.

"It wasn't one of Hammy's best days," Renteria said. "But he sure did grind out five innings."

Pittsburgh's Brandon Cumpton (2-2) allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in his five innings, striking out Nate Schierholtz with the bases loaded on his final pitch.

"It's something I need to work on, getting through the fifth and sixth innings," Cumpton said. "It was a good experience, a real confidence booster for me."

Justin Wilson, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli followed with a hitless inning each. Grilli earned his 10th save of the season in his 400th career appearance.

The Pirates' Starling Marte had two hits — including an RBI single in the fifth inning — but also was thrown out on the basepaths for the third time in two games when he was picked off third following Travis Snider's popup behind home plate in the fifth.

The Cubs briefly tied the game at 2 in the second when John Baker's single drove in Valbuena and Schierholtz scored on a groundout.

Valbuena entered with the second-best batting average and on-base percentage in the NL over the previous 21 games. He had two singles and a double.

"I'm just looking for my pitch and I'm being aggressive with the strike zone," Valbuena said.

The Pirates' Gregory Polanco went 1 for 5 with an RBI groundout a day after his much-hyped major league debut Tuesday.

NOTES: The Cubs announced they signed their first-round draft pick, Indiana catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber. The No. 4 overall selection and a Johnny Bench Award finalist, he will report to the organization's short-season Class A affiliate in Boise, Idaho. ... Pirates 2B Josh Harrison was removed from the game for a pinch hitter during the third inning because of discomfort in his left ankle. ... A fireworks display from the nearby annual Pittsburgh arts festival rumbled PNC Park for several minutes during the fourth inning. ... Pittsburgh's Thursday scheduled starter, RHP Edinson Volquez, is 5-0 in his career against the Cubs. Chicago's probable starter, RHP Jeff Samardzija, has a 1.90 ERA in 71 career innings against the Pirates, including seven shutout innings on opening day at PNC Park.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Maria Aragon performs new single "Nothing but a Beat"

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A one day old piglet glances up from his morning feeding at Cedar Lane Farm near Altona.    Standup photo Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos


How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google