CHICAGO — Mike Montgomery pitched six-hit ball into the eighth inning and helped himself at the plate, leading the Chicago Cubs to a triumph over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Montgomery (5-6) struck out four and walked none in his second start as he was inserted into the spinning following Jon Lester was put on the 10-day handicapped list. The left-hander was hauled following Jordy Mercer snapped his 17 1/3-inning scoreless streak in the eighth.
Carl Edwards Jr. got three outs before Wade Davis completed the six-hitter as Chicago proceeded 2 1/2 games before idle Milwaukee for the top spot in the NL Central.
Trevor Williams (5-7) hung in there using Montgomery, pitching five innings of two-run ball, but Pittsburgh lost for the 11th time in its last 16 games. Mercer went 3 for 3, David Freese had two hits and Andrew McCutchen singled for the Pirates.
Chicago was clinging to a 1-0 lead when Montgomery defeat an infield chopper in the fifth over Williams ‘head for a leadoff single. He also advanced to third on
Tommy La Stella’s one-out only and scored when McCutchen was pushed by Anthony Rizzo’s bases-loaded driveway all the way back for a leaping catch to the wall in center.
The Cubs added in mistakes on second baseman Sean Rodriguez and catcher Chris Stewart and the eighth on Alex Avila infield only.
Rodriguez threw wide of first whilst attempting to retire Avila, and Stewart threw the ball into center field to bring home a second run.
Montgomery got some help from shortstop Javier Baez, who made a pair of fine defensive plays. To begin with, he robbed Jose Osuna of a hit using a diving stop that was terrific and throw in the third. Then he made a diving grab and got up to tag Mercer for an unassisted double play.
Pirates: INF Adam Frazier has been put on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Frazier left Sunday’s 5-2 win at Cincinnati once he grounded into a double play in the third inning. OF Jordan Luplow and RHP Dovydas Neverauskas were encouraged from Triple-A Indianapolis, and RHP Johnny Barbato was delivered down to Pittsburgh’s leading farm club.
Cubs: Lester threw 47 pitches to Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber throughout a simulated game. Lester, who is with shoulder pain and lat stiffness, could require a minor league rehab start. “I think a good deal of it will depend on how he feels tomorrow, the way he feels as though he came through now,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “I thought he looked great. It looked as though the ball has been coming out well.” … Contreras (right hamstring strain) also occurred early batting practice. … SS Addison Russell (proper foot strain) and RHP Justin Grimm (finger disease) each produced their very first rehab appearance with Triple-A Iowa. Russell went 1 for 3 with a double, whilst pitching one inning and also a run was let by Grimm.
Night pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl and Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta pitch on Tuesday. Kuhl (6-9, 4.52 ERA) is 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in five August starts. Arrieta (13-8, 3.49 ERA) was on a roll since the All-Star fracture, going 5-1 with a 1.78 ERA in eight outings.