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Matt Duffy’s hit lifts Chicago Cubs over Pittsburgh Pirates

May 8, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (9) forces out Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier (26) at second base during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Pinch hitter Matt Duffy drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the host Chicago Cubs held on for a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon.

Willson Contreras and Eric Sogard also drove in runs for the Cubs, who won their fifth game in a row. Chicago will go for the sweep in the three-game series on Sunday.

Ka’ai Tom hit his first career home run, a two-run shot, to lead the Pirates at the plate. Pittsburgh has lost three in a row and eight of its past nine games.

Cubs right-hander Keegan Thompson (1-0) earned his first victory. He pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk, in relief of starter Trevor Williams.

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Pirates left-hander Sam Howard (2-2) gave up one run in two-thirds of an inning to take the loss.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth save for Chicago.

The Cubs opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Starter Wil Crowe loaded the bases with one out before plunking Contreras in the left shoulder to bring home a run. The Pirates’ hurler bounced back to retire Jason Heyward and David Bote in the next two at-bats to prevent further damage.

Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead on Tom’s milestone home run in the top of the fourth. The 26-year-old Hawaiian golfed a low pitch over the wall in left-center field for his first homer in his 17th career game.

The Cubs evened the score at 2 thanks to aggressive base running in the bottom of the fourth. Contreras tagged up from third base on a shallow center field and beat the throw home as it bounced in the dirt.

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Chicago took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Heyward drew a leadoff walk, swiped second base with two outs and scored on Duffy’s single to right field. The Pirates challenged the call that Heyward was safe at the plate, but the go-ahead run was confirmed after a video review.

Pirates first baseman Colin Moran departed the game in the bottom of the first after injuring his left leg. He caught a line drive and raced to the bag to try to double off a runner, but he winced and grabbed toward his left groin after the play. He limped slowly off the field as Todd Frazier replaced him at first.

–Field Level Media