Seiya Suzuki’s 2 homers lift Cubs to 2-1 win over Pirates

Apr 12, 2022, 4:21 AM | Updated: 5:20 pm
Chicago Cubs' Seiya Suzuki (27) heads back to the dugout after hitting a solo home run off Pittsbur...

Chicago Cubs' Seiya Suzuki (27) heads back to the dugout after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jose Quintana during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

              Pittsburgh Pirates' Ke'Bryan Hayes adjusts his helmet after stealing second during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              A baseball fan walks by baseball statues commemorating Hall of Fame players ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates home opener against the Chicago Cubs, Tuesday, April 12, 2022, on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the North Shore in Pittsburgh. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)
            
              Pittsburgh Pirates' Ke'Bryan Hayes, center, is introduced before the Pirates' home-opener baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              The Pittsburgh Pirates, along the third baseline, and the Chicago Cubs stand for the national anthem before the Pirates' home-opener baseball game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jose Quintana delivers during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly delivers during the second inning of the team's baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Chicago Cubs' Seiya Suzuki hits a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jose Quintana during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Chicago Cubs' Seiya Suzuki (27) heads back to the dugout after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jose Quintana during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Seiya Suzuki homered twice, Drew Smyly pitched five scoreless innings and the Chicago Cubs beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on Tuesday, spoiling the Pirates’ home opener.

Suzuki connected for leadoff shots in the fifth and seventh. One of the top players in Japan, Suzuki signed an $85 million, five-year contract with the Cubs last month.

“I’m just trying to stay aggressive and trying to make the pitcher throw more pitches,” Suzuki said through a translator. “Obviously I’m getting lucky, and I just want to continue to contribute like this.”

Smyly (1-0) permitted three hits and walked none in his Cubs debut. The left-hander agreed to a one-year contract last month.

Smyly also signed a $10 million, two-year contract with the Cubs in December 2017, but he never pitched for Chicago. Working his way back from Tommy John surgery, he ran out of time to get into a big league game in 2018 and was traded to Texas that November.

Smyly chuckled when asked about finally making his Cubs debut.

“Everything works out for a reason, everyone has a different path,” Smyly said. “I’ve been very lucky in my career, and I feel very fortunate to be back here and pitching for the Cubs. It felt good to go out there, pitch well and help the team win a game.”

The Pirates got their only run on Bryan Reynolds’ homer against Mychal Givens in the eighth.

David Robertson worked a perfect ninth for his second save.

José Quintana (0-1) made his first appearance for Pittsburgh, pitching five effective innings against one of his former teams. The veteran lefty joined the Pirates as a free agent in November after posting a 6.43 ERA in an injury-plagued 2021 season with the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco.

“All day long, I thought he threw the ball well,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “If he goes out in the rest of his starts and throws the ball like that, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”

Suzuki drove a full-count pitch from Quintana deep to right-center in the fifth. He connected against Anthony Banda in the seventh for his third homer in his fourth major league game.

“There was not too much information on him,” Quintana said of Suzuki. “I tried to follow the plan, to throw the fastball close to him. I think when he hit the homer, the ball came back over the middle. He’s tough.”

Suzuki has reached base at least twice, scored a run and driven in a run in each game. The last Cubs player to start the season with a longer streak was Mark Grudzielanek with five in 2003.

“He’s really done a good job of controlling the strike zone,” Cubs acting manager Andy Green said. “He chased a little in spring training and he was probably trying to show some things. But since the season has started, he has really made the pitchers throw strikes.”

Smyly induced a career-high 11 groundball outs.

Ian Happ had two hits for Chicago. He is 7 for 10 in three games so far this season.

THOMPSON APPEALS

Cubs right-hander Keegan Thompson has appealed his three-game suspension for hitting Milwaukee’s Andrew McCutchen with a pitch Saturday. He remains eligible to play until the appeal process ends.

Ross served his one-game suspension for the incident. Green, who managed San Diego from 2016-19, ran the club in Ross’ absence.

“It’s out of my control. It’s part of the rules,” Ross said when asked if he thought the suspension was justified.

HAYES DEAL DONE

The Pirates and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes finalized an eight-year, $70 million contract before the game. The deal runs through the 2029 season and includes a club option for 2030.

“To be a cornerstone player means a lot to me,” Hayes, 25, said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Alec Mills (low back strain) threw 77 pitches Sunday in extended spring training. He was scheduled for a bullpen season Tuesday in Arizona. … LHP Wade Miley (left elbow inflammation) played catch before the game.

Pirates: RHP Luis Oviedo (right ankle sprain) began an injury rehabilitation assignment at Low-A Bradenton on Sunday and pitched one scoreless inning.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 1.29 ERA) starts on Wednesday. He allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings against Milwaukee on opening day.

Pirates: RHP Zach Thompson (3-7, 3.24 ERA in 2021) makes his debut for Pittsburgh after being acquired from Miami in an offseason trade.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/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

Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) dunks over Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul during the first h...
Associated Press

Murray scores 21 points, Hawks roll past Suns 132-100

PHOENIX (AP) — Trae Young rose up for a 3-pointer in the second half that left his hands way too hard, hurtling toward the basket before slamming off the backboard and through the hoop. Atlanta’s star guard shrugged and ran back down the court with a sheepish grin. Things were going the Hawks way Wednesday […]
24 hours ago
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, left, guards Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, right, during ...
Associated Press

Markkanen, Conley power Jazz to 131-128 win over Raptors

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lauri Markkanen had 28 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Conley added a three-point play and two clutch free throws in the closing minutes to lift the Utah Jazz to a 131-128 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. “Taking my time, having a little more patience, not just […]
24 hours ago
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) looks to pass while defended by Minnesota Timberwolv...
Associated Press

Russell, Edwards help Timberwolves beat Warriors in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Anthony Edwards took over in overtime after Russell fouled out and the Minnesota Timberwolves outlasted the Golden State Warriors 119-114 on Wednesday night. Russell fouled out after two quick whistles in the first minute of overtime. That set the stage […]
24 hours ago
Boston Bruins' Pavel Zacha (not shown) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35)...
Associated Press

Pavel Zacha scores twice as Bruins beat Maple Leafs 5-2

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs feel like they can keep up with the NHL-leading Boston Bruins. They just need to do it for three consecutive periods. Pavel Zacha scored twice in the third as Boston surged past the Maple Leafs 5-2 on Wednesday. After a scoreless first period, Toronto trailed 2-1 at the […]
24 hours ago
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots as Houston Rockets center Alperen Se...
Associated Press

Gordon, rookie Eason help Rockets defeat Thunder 112-106

HOUSTON (AP) — Eric Gordon had a season-high 25 points and rookie Tari Eason added career-high 20 to lead the Houston Rockets to a 112-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. The Rockets (13-38), who have the worst record in the Western Conference, have won three of their last five games after […]
24 hours ago
Florida guard Will Richard celebrates with fans after the second half of an NCAA college basketball...
Associated Press

Florida upends No. 2 Tennessee 67-54 behind Colin Castleton

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Colin Castleton is accustomed to being double-teamed every time he touches the ball, so he was pleasantly surprised — maybe even downright stunned — when Tennessee opted to guard him with a single defender in the second half. “I’ve got to take advantage of that,” Castleton said. He did. Castleton scored […]
24 hours ago
Seiya Suzuki’s 2 homers lift Cubs to 2-1 win over Pirates