CHICAGO (AP) — Pittsburgh right fielder Gregory Polanco tripped and fell while trying to catch an easy fly, and the ball dropped for an RBI single in the 12th inning that sent the Chicago Cubs to a startling 11-10 win over the Pirates on Friday.
The Cubs won their fifth straight game in unlikely fashion, and matched their longest string since last June.
Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the 12th against Radhames Liz (0-1) and Matt Szczur lifted a routine fly to shallow right field, surely not deep enough to score the winning run.
Polanco came running in with plenty of time to make the catch, then slipped and stumbled to the ground. He reached up with his bare left hand trying to make a play, but had no chance.
No, Gregory Polanco… this is NOT how you baseball. https://t.co/imJFGRmyJb
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) May 15, 2015
Sprawled in the grass, his sunglasses flying off his head, Polanco never came close to touching the ball as Starlin Castro ran home.
A crazy ending, considering that in the exact same situation in the 10th – bases loaded, one out – Polanco caught a longer fly by Szczur and threw out Castro at the plate to end the inning.
Given another try, Szczur didn’t hit the ball nearly as well, yet wound up in the middle of a celebration after a most bizarre single.
Edwin Jackson (1-1) pitched the 12th for the win.
Rookie Kris Bryant hit his fourth homer and drove in four runs, helping the Cubs take a 10-5 lead into the eighth inning.
The Pirates scored four times in the eighth on a solo homer by Josh Harrison and a three-run shot from Andrew McCutchen.
Ahead 10-9, Cubs reliever Hector Rondon retired the first two batters in the ninth. Harrison followed with a double, moved up on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on Francisco Cervelli’s two-out single.
Cervelli hit a three-run double as part of a four-run rally in the sixth that pulled Pittsburgh to 7-5.
Pedro Alvarez also homered for the Pirates.
Bryant hit his third home run this week. Anthony Rizzo also homered and drove in two runs for Chicago.
— Benstonium (@Benstonium) May 15, 2015
Pirates: LHP Antonio Bastardo was activated from the paternity list and LHP Bobby LaFromboise was sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis. Bastardo has a 6.43 ERA in 11 games and seven innings this season. LaFromboise pitched one scoreless inning in the Pirates’ 4-2 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday in his only major league appearance this season. … RHP Charlie Morton will join the Pirates in Chicago to throw a bullpen session on Saturday as his next step in rehabilitation from right hip surgery performed last September. Morton threw seven innings and gave up one earned run on 11 hits in a Triple-A rehab start on Thursday.
Cubs: C David Ross was examined Friday by trainers after he left the Thursday’s game against the Mets with abdominal tightness. Ross didn’t experience any soreness Friday and said he should be fine. Welington Castillo caught for the Cubs Friday.
Pirates: RHP Gerritt Cole (5-1, 2.32) has given up two of fewer earned runs in five of his first seven starts and will be looking Saturday for his sixth victory in his last seven outings.
Cubs: Jon Lester (3-2, 4.10) will be looking for his second victory this week at Wrigley Field despite giving up a season-high four walks on May 11 against the Mets.
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