Marcus Stroman

Stroman delivers another quality start as Cubs shut out Pirates 4-0

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Marcus Stroman held Pittsburgh to five hits over seven masterful innings to help the Chicago Cubs beat the reeling Pirates 4-0 on Tuesday night.

Stroman (9-4) struck out five against one walk and never let the Pirates get to third base while winning his seventh straight start. He needed just 97 pitches to get 21 outs, dropping his ERA to 2.28, tops in the National League.

Tucker Barnhart hit his first home run of the season for the Cubs. Mike Tauchman homered for the second time in three games and Ian Happ added two hits against his hometown team as Chicago won for the seventh time in eight games.

Ke'Bryan Hayes and Connor Joe had two hits each for the Pirates, but Pittsburgh's losing streak reached eight thanks to an offense that offered little support behind starter Johan Oviedo (3-7).

Rookie Henry Davis, the top pick in the 2021 draft who doubled in his major-league debut Monday night, went 0 for 4 as the designated hitter.

The Pirates called up Davis in hopes his arrival could help an offense that has fallen flat. Pittsburgh has yet to score a run with Davis in the lineup and has managed 17 runs in all during a skid that's dropped the Pirates from first to fourth in the NL Central and seen them shut out three times.

Stroman used six efficient innings to beat Pittsburgh last week at Wrigley Field. He was even better at PNC Park. While the Pirates pecked away occasionally — putting at least one runner on base in five of Stroman's seven innings of work — they never really came close to breaking through.

Pittsburgh's best chance to make a game of it came in the seventh when Joe doubled with one out and Ji Hwan Bae walked two batters later. Pinch-hitter Cal Mitchell — called up from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier Tuesday — put together an eight-pitch at-bat that included a liner to the left-field corner that was foul by a foot or two. Stroman struck out Mitchell with a 93 mph sinker two pitches later to end the threat.

Stroman's surge began with a 10-1 win over Philadelphia on May 19. He has a 1.29 ERA during his career-best seven-start winning streak that has helped the Cubs steady themselves during an otherwise erratic stretch in which they have struggled to gain momentum.

Stroman received all the help he needed when Barnhart sent the first pitch he saw from Oviedo into the center-field seats with one out in the third for his first home run since last September. Happ, a Pittsburgh native, tripled with one out in the third and scored on Cody Bellinger's sacrifice fly.

Otherwise, Oviedo was sharp, giving up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Yet his solid performance was undone — as Osvaldo Bido's was in an 8-0 loss on Monday night — by an offense that has fallen into a funk that has dampened the enthusiasm from a couple of brief stints atop an underwhelming division.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Codi Heuer (right elbow) is scheduled to pitch an inning for Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday.

Pirates: Held CF Bryan Reynolds out of the lineup due to lower-back tightness. Manager Derek Shelton said Reynolds had been dealing with the issue for about a week but does not anticipate Reynolds needing to go on the injured list.

UP NEXT

The series concludes Wednesday. Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.18 ERA) gets the start for Chicago against Pittsburgh's Rich Hill (6-6, 4.31).

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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