Oviedo cruises through 7, Pirates top Cubs 6-0 to end skid
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Johan Oviedo tied his career high with seven strikeouts in seven innings, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 on Saturday night to snap an eight-game losing streak.
Oviedo (4-2) retired the final 16 batters he faced, allowing just three hits on 82 pitches without issuing a walk. The right-hander went at least seven innings for the first time this season and second time in 24 career starts, capping his night in the seventh by retiring the side on five pitches.
“I’m really happy and thankful, first of all, with the coaches and the staff and the work that we put into these past weeks,” Oviedo said. “I was not looking at the strikeouts or pitch count, or anything. I was just trying to have fun every single pitch that I throw. Forget about the result, even if it was a good hit or a bad hit, or whatever happened in the game. I was just trying to have fun.”
Oviedo has given up seven runs with 23 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings across five starts since being acquired in a trade from St. Louis on Aug. 1.
“The no walks (on Saturday) are what really stand out,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “He came out and commanded the zone, was really in control and he put us in good position. He did a good job of really pounding the zone and going after it. It’s a good step forward. It was a really impressive.”
The Pirates (56-96) ended Chicago’s four-game winning streak, and now must win at least seven of their final 10 games to avoid reaching 100 losses for the 10th time.
Rodolfo Castro set up the opening run in the first, putting two runners in scoring position with a one-out double to left-center. Bryan Reynolds scored on a sac fly by Diego Castillo.
Wade Miley (1-2) gave up one hit over the next three innings before leaving with left oblique tightness in the fifth. He surrendered three runs (one earned) and three hits in four innings.
“He’s a little sore,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “He’s had a good attitude, the way he’s gone about his business. Really good way about how he was pitching today. His stuff felt good. The rhythm was good. Using both sides of the plate. We were just over there talking about how much fun it is to watch him pitch.”
Miley walked Ben Gamel to start the fifth before tossing a bunt from Greg Allen into center. Gamel moved to third with Allen advancing to second, ending Miley’s outing.
“I felt like I got to it OK and then just when I made a turn to throw it to second base, just felt a grab on the backside of my oblique,” Miley said. “As I’m throwing, I felt it kind of grab. That was it. … A little bit of frustration. At first, it was painful. Then it kind of calmed down. I’ve torn my right one before and I was stubborn the first time I did it. I felt pretty much what I felt today, on my right side. Then I tried to throw another pitch. Just made it 10 weeks instead of two weeks.
“Hopefully, tomorrow it’ll feel a little bit better. We’ll see where it goes.”
Ji Hwan Bae hit a one-out double off Adbert Alzolay down the right-field line, driving in two to extend the lead to 3-0. They were the first two RBIs in the majors for Bae, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday.
Jack Suwinski then had a pinch-hit, three-run homer with two outs, doubling the lead to 6-0. The 18th home run of Suwinski’s rookie season was sent 426 feet into the bushes in dead center.
Cubs: LHP Steven Brault’s left shoulder did not respond well following an outing with Triple-A Iowa. He will head back to Chicago for further evaluation. … LHP Justin Steele threw a bullpen, working his way back from low back problems. … C Willson Contreras (ankle) and INF Nico Hoerner (triceps) could return in the next few days after going through pregame activities Saturday. … LHP Brandon Hughes (ankle) is day-to-day.
Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes was held out of a second straight game with low back discomfort.
RHP Adrian Sampson (2-5, 3.35 ERA) will go for the Cubs in the series finale on Sunday, opposite Pirates RHP Luis Ortiz (0-0, 0.84).
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