Montgomery pitches Cubs to 6-1 win over Pirates
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[August 29, 2017]
CHICAGO -- Mike Montgomery is
looking less like a fill-in and more like a legitimate part of the
Chicago Cubs' rotation.
The left-hander had a second straight strong outing since stepping
in during left-hander Jon Lester's disabled-list stint, leading
Chicago to a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
Montgomery worked a season-high, seven-plus innings and allowed one
run. He took a shutout into the eighth inning.
"His future is as a starter," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I think
what you saw tonight is typical of what he's capable of doing over a
long period of time."
Whether he remains in the rotation, goes back to the bullpen when
Lester returns late this week becomes part of a six-man September
rotation remains to be seen.
Montgomery says he will do whatever the Cubs want.
"I'm going to assume that I'm going to be asked to start again, and
if it changes, it changes, and I'm going to be able to adjust from
there," he said. "My focus is towards keeping myself physically
ready to go and mentally ready to go for the next month."
Montgomery (5-6) struck out four, walked none and allowed six hits.
He also had a hit and scored a run in the opener of a three-game
series at Wrigley Field.
Chicago (70-60) has won two of its past three. The Pirates (63-69)
saw a two-game winning streak end and fell eight games behind the
National League Central-leading Cubs.
Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams (5-7) worked five innings and
took a third loss in his past four starts. He gave up two runs on
six hits and three walks while striking out four. Williams is now
1-2 in his career against Chicago, all this year.
"We weren't able to create much offense, but I thought Trevor
pitched a very gritty game, very gutsy game," said Pirates manager
Clint Hurdle. "We put ourselves in a position to be in a closer
game, but we couldn't get outs when we needed to."
Ahead 2-0, the Cubs loaded the bases in the seventh and scored three
runs on Alex Avila's two-out infield single. Kris Bryant came home
on the hit, and Jon Jay and Ian Happ then scored on two Pirates
throwing errors on the play to make it 5-0.
Montgomery's shutout bid ended in the eighth with Jordy Mercer's
leadoff home run to left, Mercer's 12th of the year. Montgomery was
replaced by Carl Edwards Jr., who worked the rest of the inning.
Albert Almora Jr. closed the Cubs' scoring in the eighth with a
two-out double to center, scoring Ben Zobrist.
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Cubs starting pitcher Mike Montgomery (38) pitches during second
inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Mandatory
Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Cubs closer Wade Davis worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
Jason Heyward went 2-for-4, Bryant was 1-for-3 with two walks, and
Happ went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Mercer went 3-for-3 for the Pirates, and David Freese finished
Happ gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the second. Anthony Rizzo lined a
leadoff double to right, and Happ bounced an RBI single up the
middle to drive him in with no outs.
Cubs shortstop Javier Baez turned in the defensive gem of the game
in the third inning, hitting the dirt as he stopped a Jose Osuna
liner and quickly picking himself up for a throw that barely beat
the runner at first.
The Cubs made it 2-0 on a Rizzo sacrifice fly to deep center in the
Montgomery reached on an infield single and advanced to third on
Tommy La Stella's one-out base hit to right. Williams walked Bryant
to load the bases for Rizzo, who knocked in the run with his fly
"They made me pitch to them in some tough situations," Williams
said. "There's a few pitches that I missed and got hurt on, but I
thought we did a great job sticking to the game plan."
NOTES: The Pirates shuffled their roster, placing INF Adam Frazier
(strained right hamstring) on the 10-day disabled list, recalling OF
Jordan Luplow and RHP Dovydas Neverauskas from Triple-A Indianapolis
and sending RHP Johnny Barbato to Indy. ... The Pirates send RHP
Chad Kuhl (6-9, 4.52 ERA) against Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta (13-8, 3.49)
in Tuesday's middle game at Wrigley Field. ... Chicago 1B Anthony
Rizzo has reached 30 homers for the fourth straight season. ... Cubs
LHP Jon Lester (lat, shoulder) threw a 47-pitch simulated game at
Wrigley Field on Monday and is on target for a late week return off
the disabled list. ... Cubs organist Gary Pressy entertained in his
2,500th consecutive game on Monday, a run of nearly 31 seasons.
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