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May 11, 2024 9:43 pm

Pirates get wild win over Cubs in Paul Skenes’ debut

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Paul Skenes struck out seven over four-plus innings in his highly anticipated major league debut and the Pittsburgh Pirates hit five home runs in a 10-9 victory over the visiting Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

Skenes threw 17 pitches of 100 mph or more and gave up three runs on six hits and two walks while throwing 84 pitches. He was staked to a 6-1 lead before Chicago drew six bases-loaded walks off three Pirates relievers during a wild fifth inning that was interrupted by a rain delay of more than two hours.

Connor Joe, Oneil Cruz, Michael A. Taylor, Yasmani Grandal and Andrew McCutchen each homered for Pittsburgh, which set a season high for runs scored and snapped a three-game losing skid.

David Bednar allowed a run in the ninth inning before retiring Cody Bellinger on a flyout with a runner at third base for his seventh save.

Nico Hoerner homered for Chicago, which went 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Pittsburgh took a 4-0 lead with two outs in the third inning against left-hander Justin Steele. Joe hit a three-run homer and Cruz followed with a 427-foot homer to right-center field.

Hoerner put the Cubs on the board with a one-out solo homer against Skenes, who was the top pick in last year’s major league draft. It was Hoerner’s second of the season.

The Pirates extended their lead to 6-1 on Taylor’s two-out homer with one out in the fourth against Steele, who allowed six runs on six hits over four innings. He walked two and struck out three.

Chicago moved ahead with seven runs on three hits and six bases-loaded walks in the fifth inning. After Mike Tauchman began the rally with a leadoff double and Seiya Suzuki singled, Skenes was replaced by Kyle Nicolas.

Nicolas struck out the first two batters he faced before encountering control issues. Ian Happ was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and three runs scored when Nicolas issued three consecutive walks on 12 straight balls.

The Cubs cut the deficit to 6-5 when Josh Fleming replaced Nicolas and walked Yan Gomes on five pitches. Tauchman then tied the game with an infield single before the game was suspended.

When play resumed, Chicago moved ahead 8-6 on consecutive bases-loaded walks by Colin Holderman (1-0).

Pittsburgh regained the lead on Grandal’s three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning against Keegan Thompson (1-1).

McCutchen added to the lead by greeting Richard Lovelady with a leadoff homer in the sixth inning.

–Field Level Media

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