PITTSBURGH (AP) — Joe Musgrove’s fine work on the mound was overshadowed by his aggressiveness on the bases.
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 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.
“I slid directly into the bag,” Musgrove said. “Yeah, I popped up, but it was because I had nowhere else to go. Yeah, I could have hurt but I wasn’t trying to do that. I was just trying to play good, aggressive baseball.”
No punches were thrown as both teams milled around the infield and there were no ejections.
Baez said after the game that he was not upset, and Chicago manager Joe Maddon used the word “frivolity” to describe the incident.
“I’m not saying it was a bad slide, but he just went hard, and I asked him ‘What was that about?'” Baez said. “He said sorry. Conversation was over. You know, everybody came out because they have to, but sometimes players are just talking and that was the situation there and it was over.”
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.
“I wasn’t trying to get caught in proving anything because I was on a new team, but it does feel good to contribute right away,” Musgrove said.
Musgrove 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.
“Honestly, I thought I threw pretty good,” Hendricks said. “It was more of a battle mentally today for some reason.”
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.
Felipe Vazquez pitched a scoreless ninth, getting Kris Bryant to hit a game-ending groundout with two men on, for his 10th save in 13 opportunities. The left-hander blew each of his three previous chances.
Pittsburgh’s Colin Moran and Chicago’s Jason Heyward had three hits apiece.
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish was found to have inflammation in his right triceps but no structural damage after undergoing an MRI. Signed to a $126-million, six-year contract in February as a free agent, Darvish last pitched May 20. … RHP Carl Edwards Jr. (right shoulder inflammation) was placed on the 10-day disabled list and RHP Cory Mazzoni was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Edwards felt pain after pitching one scoreless inning in Tuesday night’s win over the Pirates. Mazzoni got two outs in a scoreless inning.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli returned to the lineup after missing three games with flu-like symptoms and was 0 for 4. … RHP Ivan Nova (sprained right ring finger) will miss his second straight start Sunday at St. Louis and either pitch a simulated game or make a minor league rehab start before being activated from the DL. … LHP Enny Romero (left shoulder impingement) has started throwing off the slope of the mound at extended spring training in Bradenton, Florida.
Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (5-4, 4.78 ERA) will start against Mets RHP Seth Lugo (1-1, 2.48) in the opener of a four-game series at New York. Quintana has a 3.18 ERA in five road starts, compared to a 6.66 mark in five home starts.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (5-3, 3.43) will face Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (2-1, 2.15) in the first game of a four-game series at St. Louis. Since winning his first three starts this season, Williams is 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA in eight starts.