Musgrove ignites Bucs with pitching, hard slide
Joe Musgrove pitched seven strong innings and his hard slide led to both teams emptying their benches in another tense moment in the series between NL Central rivals, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Musgrove (2-0) helped end the Pirates’ four-game losing streak by overcoming a shaky first inning to allow one run on seven hits and four walks. He also had five strikeouts, five days after pitching seven scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals to win his Pirates’ debut.
Musgrove slid hard into second baseman Javier Baez to break up a potential double play in the third inning. Baez was knocked off balance but did not hit the ground.
No punches were thrown as both teams milled around the infield and there were no ejections.
Umpire crew chief Gerry Davis instituted a video replay review to see if Musgrove interfered with Baez. However, replay officials at Major League Baseball’s central office in New York informed Davis that it was not a reviewable play.
The Pirates were angered Monday when Anthony Rizzo’s slide upended catcher Elias Diaz at home plate, successfully breaking up a potential double play in the eighth inning of Chicago’s 7-0 win.
The umpiring crew and replay officials ruled Rizzo did not interfere with Diaz. However, Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre informed both clubs Tuesday that Rizzo should have been called for interference for swiping Diaz’s right leg.
Musgrove began the season on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder. He was acquired with three other players from the Houston Astros in an offseason trade for Gerrit Cole.
He outpitched Kyle Hendricks (4-4), who surrendered two runs and seven hits in five innings while striking out one and walking one. The Cubs’ three-game winning streak was snapped.
Josh Harrison hit the sixth leadoff home run of his career in the bottom of the first inning and Gregory Polanco put the Pirates ahead 2-1 in the second with a sacrifice fly that scored Corey Dickerson, who led off with a triple. Polanco went 0 for 3 and is hitless in his last 21 at-bats.
Albert Almora Jr. led off the game with a double and scored on Baez’s single as the Cubs took a quick 1-0 lead. However, Musgrove struck out Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell to escape a bases-loaded jam and Chicago wound up stranding 11 runners.