CHICAGO — The Pirates’ newfound strategy of attempting to win with no or precious few hits proved ineffective Monday night.
Primarily because their pitching and defense failed them.
Could be time to revisit the viability of trying to win games that way.
Jokes aside, the Pirates slogged through another slow offense night, suffered through some early pitching problems and even had another error from Ke’Bryan Hayes as they opened a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field with a 9-0 loss.
Over their past 18 innings dating back to Rodolfo Castro’s infield single in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game, the Pirates have just three hits, all of them coming on Monday.
The Cubs, meanwhile, enjoyed an eight-run first inning that ended this one, oh, only about a half hour after it started, a stain with starting pitching that the Pirates — whose starters had a 3.29 ERA in May, eighth-best in MLB — really haven’t experienced much.
Pittsburgh’s first hit of the night came when Michael Chavis singled off Cubs starter Wade Miley in the fifth inning, as their offense remains very much stuck in neutral. A 35-year-old left-hander who had been dealing with inflammation in his elbow, Miley breezed through seven innings, allowing the Chavis single, no walks and striking out six.
Working at a terrific pace, Miley threw 83 pitches, including 52 strikes, and probably would have had a chance at a Maddux had Chicago been a little less conservative with his usage.
After the Pirates’ hit-less stretch cleared the 13-inning mark, Castro followed Chavis’ single by grounding out to shortstop, the threat easily extinguished.
Yoshi Tsutsugo and Castro had singles in the eighth.