Chicago at Pittsburgh

Chi. Cubs
W: W. Rodriguez (5-2) L: J. Russell (1-1) S: J. Grilli (18)
HR: CHC - None   PIT - T. Snider (2)

Pirates spoil Garza's strong return from DL, down Cubs wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Snider took a pregame pep talk from his manager to heart. Relaxed and with a clear head, he delivered a crucial sixth-inning home run for the second time in five games.

Snider hit a pinch-hit grand slam to help the Pittsburgh Pirates spoil a strong return to the mound for Matt Garza with a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

Garza allowed one hit over five shutout innings in his first outing in 10 months, but the Pirates pounced on a Chicago bullpen that is 10th in the National League in ERA by sending 11 men to the plate in the sixth.

Snider, who homered for the first time in nine months in a win over Milwaukee on Thursday, hit his first career home run with the bases loaded. It was the first Pirates pinch-hit grand slam in five years.

"Tonight was probably the most calm pinch-hit at bat I've had," Snider said. "[Manager Clint] Hurdle gave a good speech before the game just talking about situations that come up, whether it's in the sixth inning, the first inning, eighth inning, ninth inning -- the game's the game. And over-thinking those situations isn't going to make it any easier for you if you don't get a hit. So I just tried to go up there and be patient.

"I got ahead of the count and was able to sit back on a changeup."

Wandy Rodriguez (5-2) allowed three runs on six hits over six innings for the Pirates, who have won nine of 11.

Darwin Barney went 4 for 4 for the Cubs, who have lost three of four.

Snider's second homer was the first pinch-hit grand slam by a Pirates player since Jason Michaels on June 2, 2008, at St. Louis. It came off of Shawn Camp after Hector Rondon and James Russell (1-1) had combined to load the bases. Pedro Alvarez walked to drive in a run.

The Pirates did not have a hit against Garza until Clint Barmes singled to right with one out in the fifth.

Garza had been sidelined since July 21 because of a stress reaction in his right elbow and, later, a strained upper back muscle.

"He was really good," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He had a really good slider. His command, for it being his first time back, was outstanding. Even when he missed, he didn't miss by much. His velocity was good, too, consistently at 93-94. He was just outstanding."

Limited by a pitch count, Garza threw 82 pitches.

"I felt great out there," Garza said. "I had some butterflies and the first couple of innings flew by. I had to kind of stop myself at one point and just slow down but it was fun. It was a long, long time and it's nice to not only come back but pitch well. You don't want to spend that much time working to get back and then pitch poorly."

Or, apparently, to hit poorly either. The lone inning in which Rodriguez allowed a runner to progress past first base was the second, when Barney had an RBI single and Garza hit a two-run double.

Cubs pitchers have 13 RBI in May -- the most for the franchise in any month since September 1971. They also have a major league leading six doubles.

But after that, Rodriguez retired 13 of the final 15 he faced.

"At the beginning, I didn't have good stuff," Rodriguez said through a translator. "Then I started using the breaking ball and hitting spots and I was successful at that."

Justin Wilson worked around two hits in the seventh and Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless eighth.

The Cubs scored once in the ninth on a single by Starlin Castro, but Jason Grilli stuck out Anthony Rizzo swinging with two on to end the game and earn his majors-leading 18th save. Rizzo finished 0 for 5.

After sitting out Pittsburgh's previous game Sunday due to knee soreness, Andrew McCutchen went 0 for 4. He made two of the Pirates' three outs during the sixth, leaving the bases loaded to end the inning.


  • To make room for Garza on the roster, the Cubs earlier Tuesday designated RHP Michael Bowden for assignment. Also Tuesday, Chicago claimed RHP Eduardo Sanchez off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals and assigned him to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.
  • The Pirates reinstated RHP Jose Contreras from the bereavement list before the game and returned RHP Jared Hughes to Triple-A Indianapolis.
  • LHP Francisco Liriano will make his third start for the Pirates when the series continues Wednesday. He has faced the Cubs once in his eight-year career. RHP Jeff Samardzija, who has a 0.92 ERA in 39 career innings vs. Pittsburgh, starts for the Cubs.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Matt Garza, sidelined since July 10, throws five shutout innings, but his bullpen squanders his chance to earn the W. (USATSI)
Matt Garza, sidelined since July 10, throws five shutout innings, but his bullpen squanders his chance to earn the W. (USATSI)

Players of the Game

D. Barney
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 0

T. Snider
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
Julio Borbon, CF4000113 .214
Starlin Castro, SS5011002 .271
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5000022 .267
Alfonso Soriano, LF4120010 .270
Scott Hairston, RF3000022 .115
    Shawn Camp, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   a- David DeJesus, PH1010000 .299
    Kevin Gregg, P0000000 .000
Welington Castillo, C4110001 .286
Cody Ransom, 3B3000022 .241
   b- Luis Valbuena, PH1000000 .255
Darwin Barney, 2B4241000 .223
Matt Garza, P2012011 .500
    Hector Rondon, P0000000 .000
    James Russell, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Sweeney, RF2010001 .350
a-singled for Marmol in the 8th
b-flied out for Ransom in the 9th
2B - Matt Garza (1, Rodriguez)
3B - Darwin Barney (1, Grilli)
RBI - Starlin Castro (21), Darwin Barney (6), Matt Garza 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Starlin Castro (11), Darwin Barney (4), Matt Garza 2 (2)
Team LOB - 8
E - Alfonso Soriano (3, Dropped fly)
Chicago Cubs
Matt Garza 5100350 0.00
Hector Rondon (H,1) 0.1233100 6.19
James Russell (L,1-1)0011100 1.04
Shawn Camp (BS,3) 0.2311101 7.56
Carlos Marmol 1100000 4.76
Kevin Gregg 1100000 0.00
WP - Matt Garza (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Garza 82-49, Hector Rondon 13-7, James Russell 7-3, Shawn Camp 21-13, Carlos Marmol 17-12, Kevin Gregg 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Garza 8-2, Hector Rondon 1-0, Carlos Marmol 1-2, Kevin Gregg 2-1
Batters Faced - Matt Garza 19, Hector Rondon 4, James Russell 1, Shawn Camp 6, Carlos Marmol 4, Kevin Gregg 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jose Tabata, LF4010002 .278
    Justin Wilson, P0000000 .000
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
   a- Brandon Inge, PH1000001 .250
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
Neil Walker, 2B2110301 .241
Andrew McCutchen, CF4000006 .274
Garrett Jones, RF3110012 .282
    Starling Marte, LF1010000 .309
Russell Martin, C3100111 .269
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3101111 .197
Gaby Sanchez, 1B3000114 .244
Clint Barmes, SS2010000 .228
   b- Travis Snider, PH-RF2114000 .278
Wandy Rodriguez, P1000010 .111
   c- Jordy Mercer, PH-SS2020000 .279
a-popped out for Melancon in the 8th
b-homered for Barmes in the 6th
c-doubled for Rodriguez in the 6th
2B - Neil Walker (3, Rondon), Jordy Mercer (3, Camp)
HR - Travis Snider (2, Camp)
SH - Wandy Rodriguez (2)
RBI - Pedro Alvarez (22), Travis Snider 4 (13)
2-OUT RBI - Travis Snider 4 (7)
CS - Starling Marte (5, 2nd base by Marmol/Castillo)
Team LOB - 9
Pittsburgh Pirates
Wandy Rodriguez (W,5-2) 6633050 3.40
Justin Wilson (H,4) 1200010 1.35
Mark Melancon (H,16) 1100020 0.75
Jason Grilli (S,18) 1211110 1.31
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 87-58, Justin Wilson 24-16, Mark Melancon 14-13, Jason Grilli 35-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 5-8, Justin Wilson 2-0
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 24, Justin Wilson 5, Mark Melancon 4, Jason Grilli 6
Game Information
Attendance - 16092
Game Time - 3:23
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Laz Diaz