Steele cruises, Cubs send Pirates to 100th loss in 9-0 rout

Sep 30, 2021, 6:43 AM | Updated: 7:10 pm
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele (35) throws to a Pittsburgh Pirates batter during the f...

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele (35) throws to a Pittsburgh Pirates batter during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 in Pittsburgh.(AP Photo/Philip G. Pavely)

(AP Photo/Philip G. Pavely)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Justin Steele breezed through seven shutout innings and the Chicago Cubs scored six runs in the second inning Thursday night, beating Pittsburgh 9-0 and sending the Pirates to their 100th loss of the season.

Steele (4-4) struck out seven and gave up four hits on 76 pitches. The rookie left-hander, who hadn’t gone more than five innings in eight major league starts, bounced back after allowing six runs and seven hits against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 24.

“If you’re going to ask me if I could’ve kept going or wanted the complete game, of course,” Steele said. “That’s just the competitor in me. I want to keep going. I don’t know exactly how many pitches I was at, but I felt like I was at a manageable pitch count. Could’ve worked it out somehow, but there’s people in the bullpen that have to get work in as well.

“Feels good to go out there and get seven shutout innings to end the year. It’s a high note. It’s something to definitely build off of.”

Pittsburgh joined Texas, Baltimore and Arizona, giving MLB four 100-loss teams for the third time, after 2002 and 2019. The Pirates hadn’t lost 100 games since 2010, when they finished 57-105.

“It’s not good, especially as hard as we work, but we’ve just got to keep moving forward,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I think we can use the entire year as motivation to be better next season. I don’t think there is a specific number that accounts for that.”

Sergio Alcántara drove in three runs, two coming on a homer to right off Miguel Yajure (0-2) that gave Chicago a 3-0 lead in the six-run second. Steele helped his own cause with a single and scored on a groundout by Frank Schwindel, Rafael Ortega took home on a double steal, Willson Contreras had an RBI double and Matt Duffy made it 7-0 with a single.

Cubs manager David Ross said the offense helped make things easier for Steele.

“He looked great. It was a nice note for him to finish on,” Ross said. “Really strong outing for him. … It’s nice to be able to pitch freely when you have that kind of run support from the offense. Did a really nice job tonight.”

The Cubs took the final two of the three-game series following a seven-game losing streak.

Yajure lasted just two innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits. He surrendered seven combined runs across 13 innings in three previous appearances (two starts) for the Pirates this season.

Chicago jumped on Yajure early, with Ortega driving the first pitch of the game 388 feet over the right-field wall for his 11th home run of the season.

“I was trying to find my rhythm, a good rhythm, and I couldn’t find it,” Yajure said. “That first inning was OK, and then the second was like wild. … I learned that I have to take advantage of the opportunity. This time, I didn’t take advantage, but I think you have to keep working.

“It made me feel so mad. I will do my best during the offseason to try to come back stronger.”

David Bote and Alcántara had back-to-back RBI singles off reliever Tanner Anderson, extending the lead to nine runs in the fifth.

ROSTER MOVES

Cubs: C Erick Castillo was selected from Triple-A Iowa.

Pirates: RHP Roansy Contreras was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. He allowed three hits with four strikeouts in three innings of his major league debut Wednesday. … Anderson was selected from Indianapolis. He gave up two runs on two hits in five innings of relief, his first major league appearance since July 4, 2019, with Oakland.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Bote exited after the sixth inning. Ross said the second baseman felt something in his shoulder while in the on-deck circle in the seventh. Bote will be evaluated Friday. … C Austin Romine was placed on the injured list with an undesignated injury.

Pirates: LHP Dillon Peters (lower back strain) was transferred from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.

UP NEXT

Cubs: A starting pitcher has not been announced for the first of a three-game series at St. Louis on Friday.

Pirates: RHP Wil Crowe (4-8, 5.77) will take the mound Friday for the first of three games to close out the regular season against the Cincinnati Reds. Crowe gave up three runs on eight hits his last time out, against the Phillies on Sept. 25.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett runs during an NFL football practice in Berea, ...
Associated Press

Browns’ Garrett in accident, injuries not life-threatening

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett has been taken to a hospital after being involved in a one-car accident following practice Monday. The team said Garrett did not suffer life-threatening injuries, but provided no further details on his condition. The Browns said they are gathering more information. Garrett and the Browns […]
15 hours ago
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) celebrates a sack against Vanderbilt during the second ha...
Associated Press

No. 2 Alabama faces 3-game stretch of ranked foe

Alabama has mostly breezed through the first month of the season, with one big scare and three games that were frightfully but predictably easy. How good is ‘Bama, really? Check back in a few weeks. The second-ranked Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) start a three-game stretch against ranked teams with Saturday’s visit to No. […]
15 hours ago
New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson (1) jokes with David Griffin, executive vice pre...
Associated Press

For Zion, Kawhi, Murray and more, the wait is finally over

Kawhi Leonard was in the Los Angeles Clippers’ facility on Monday. That wasn’t exactly a surprise development. The news was his attire. He was wearing a basketball uniform. Finally. Welcome back, Kawhi. You too, Denver’s Jamal Murray, Brooklyn’s Ben Simmons, New Orleans’ Zion Williamson, the Clippers’ John Wall and plenty of others around the NBA. […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Jimmie Johnson sits in his pit box before the final practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto r...
Associated Press

Column: Johnson will chase challenges long into retirement

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — There is a scene in Jimmie Johnson’s coffee table book “One More Lap” in which the seven-time NASCAR champion and future Hall of Famer gives a dramatic reading of an excerpt from a biography of the late journalist Hunter S. Thompson. The author, Robert Sullivan, notes that Johnson finishes reading aloud […]
15 hours ago
Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins reacts on the sideline after a play during the first half of ...
Associated Press

Ga Tech fires Geoff Collins in 4th season with 10-28 mark

ATLANTA (AP) — Geoff Collins is out as Georgia Tech’s football coach, fired Monday in the midst of his fourth season after failing to make headway with a brash plan to turn the Yellow Jackets into a national powerhouse through branding and promoting Atlanta’s big-city culture. Collins was officially dumped during a meeting of the […]
2 days ago
FILE - Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver gestures to Indiana Pacers' Danny Granger after Granger mis...
Associated Press

Minus owner Sarver, Suns return for another run at NBA title

PHOENIX (AP) — All-Stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul, along with freshly paid Deandre Ayton and coach Monty Williams, are back together for another run at an elusive NBA title. One man who apparently won’t be along on the journey — team owner Robert Sarver. The Suns met in downtown Phoenix on Monday for media […]
2 days ago
Steele cruises, Cubs send Pirates to 100th loss in 9-0 rout