PITTSBURGH (AP) – Kyle Hendricks rediscovered his 2016 form, limiting the Pittsburgh Pirates to four hits over six innings to outduel Gerrit Cole and lead the Chicago Cubs to a 1-0 win on Tuesday night.
Hendricks (2-1) struck out two and walked three in easily his best start this year. The struggling Pirates managed just four singles off Hendricks and didn’t reach third base until he was out of the game. Wade Davis worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save as the Cubs won for the sixth time in seven games.
Addison Russell doubled in the second off Cole (1-3) and scored when second baseman Alen Hanson airmailed first base on a Jason Heyward grounder, the Pirates’ major league-high 20th error this season. They’ve also allowed 15 unearned runs, the most in the big leagues.
The miscue spoiled a terrific outing by Cole. He struck out eight without issuing a walk and retired 14 of his final 15 batters. It wasn’t enough for Pittsburgh, which has lost six of eight.
Hendricks became the first Cubs pitcher in nearly 80 years to lead the majors in ERA last year (2.13) but entered at 6.19 after three lackluster starts. It dropped to 4.50 after he spent six innings keeping the Pirates off balance with a steady diet of breaking balls and changeups .
It was the second straight strong start for the defending World Series champions, who have spent the last week riding their offense to shake out of an early pitching funk. The Cubs’ pitching did the heavy lifting while Cole dominated the highest-scoring team in the majors.
Russell’s double and a two-out infield hit by Kris Bryant in the sixth was all the Cubs managed against the Pittsburgh ace, who is hoping to put an injury plagued 2016 behind him. After giving up five runs in a loss to Boston on opening day, Cole has surrendered just seven runs over his last 25 innings, a 2.52 ERA.
Pittsburgh had a chance to tie the score when John Jaso led off the seventh with a double against Koji Uehara. Jaso advanced to third on a fly ball but was stranded when Hanson struck out and pinch-hitter Jose Osuna flied to center.
Pirates: Placed struggling reliever Antonio Bastardo on the 10-day DL with a strained left quadriceps. The club said Bastardo tweaked the quad during a mopup appearance on Monday. Bastardo is 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA in six appearances this season. Pittsburgh called up reliever Johnny Barbato from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Bastardo’s roster spot. Pittsburgh acquired Barbato from the New York Yankees this month.
Cubs: Jon Lester (0-0, 2.66) makes his fifth start while still looking for his first decision of 2017. Lester is 4-3 with a 2.35 ERA in nine starts against the Pirates.
Pirates: Rookie Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.94 ERA) will make his eighth career start and fourth this season. Glasnow gave up six runs (four earned) in five innings of a no-decision against the Cubs on April 15.