Charles Rex Arbogast/ AP
Chicago Cubs’ Joe Maddon, right, welcomes Jorge Soler (68), Starlin Castro (13) and Anthony Rizzo, after the trio scored off Soler’s home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Makers Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Chicago.
Friday, Sept. 25, 2015|10:43 p.m.
CHICAGO– With an early video game Saturday, manager Joe Maddon figured the only way he would discover if the Chicago Cubs clinched a playoff area was if he got up to go to the restroom.
Well, they are in. And if Maddon rested through the night, he woke up to a nice surprise.
Chicago could have wrapped it up Friday afternoon with a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, except Gerrit Cole outpitched Jon Lester and a late rally fell short in a 3-2 loss.
San Francisco then lost to Oakland 5-4, and that suggests Chicago is gone to the postseason for the first time given that 2008.
With a 12:05 p.m. start Saturday, Maddon said the only method he would inspect the rating was “probably when I get up to go to the bathroom in the evening.”
The road back to the playoffs was a long one for the Cubs, who endured 5 straight losing seasons and a painful top-to-bottom overhaul under Theo Epstein.
He started loading up the minors system practically as quickly as he was employed in October 2011, and it’sed a good idea off in a huge way.
Young gamers started to make their way to the majors last period. The Cubs then made it clear they were major about winning when they hired Maddon and signed Lester in the offseason.
Kris Bryant, who had two hits and scored Friday, debuted this season, as did Kyle Schwarber. And both players made huge effects.
“We’ll ideally commemorate tomorrow and having fun,” stated Lester, who like Maddon was not preparing to stay up. “These guys have never experienced this. We’ll enjoy it.”
On Friday, the Pirates hung on for their seventh straight win and enhanced their lead for the NL’s leading wild card to 4 1/2 video games over the Cubs.
Cole (18-8) and Lester (10-12) each lasted seven innings, and Mark Melancon hung on in the ninth for his major league-leading 51st conserve in 53 possibilities.
Chris Denorfia led off the ninth with a double and scored on Starlin Castro’s one-out triple to right as the Cubs closed within a run and thrilled the crowd of 40,432.
Melancon then started out Jorge Soler and Javier Baez on knuckle curves in the dirt.
Cole’s 18 wins are the most for a Pirates pitcher considering that John Smiley went 20-8 in 1991. He quit 2 runs and five hits, struck out eight and walked two while enhancing to 7-1 in nine starts versus Chicago.
He likewise drove in the game’s very first run with a single in the third.
Michael Morse put Pittsburgh ahead 2-1 with an RBI single off Lester in the seventh. The Pirates included a run in the 8th against Pedro Strop when Jordy Mercer reached on a wild pitch as he struck out leading off and scored from 3rd on a grounder by Starling Marte.
Lester allowed 2 runs and five hits.
The Cubs had runners on very first and 2nd in the eighth, but Tony Watson struck out Anthony Rizzo to end the hazard.
Cole gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the 3rd with a single past a diving shortstop Addison Russell after Jordy Mercer doubled.
The Cubs tied it in the 4th when Bryant led off with a single and scored from 3rd on a force by Addison Russell.
It remained that method till the seventh, when previous Cub Aramis Ramirez led off with a double and scored on Morse’s one-out single. Morse, who was working on the pitch, then got doubled off on Josh Harrison’s pop fly to first to end the inning.
NO ILL OBJECTIVE
Coghlan insisted he wasn’t attempting to injure Jung Ho Kang with a takeout slide at Pittsburgh recently that left the Pirates shortstop with a busted left leg and torn knee ligament.
“I hate that he misses the whole year and it’s a considerable injury and a huge blow to them,” Coghlan said. “But I think those guys over there understand the method I play and it wasn’t a dirty play.”
Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco (knee) and 3B Ramirez (groin) were back in the lineup after being held out Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.
Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (11-7, 3.41 ERA), coming off a win over Clayton Kershaw and the L.a Dodgers, looks to remain on a roll for Pittsburgh. He is 7-1 in his previous 15 starts, with the Pirates winning all but among those games.
Cubs: With a 5.77 AGE over his last 11 starts, RHP Jason Hammel (9-6, 3.79) aims to break out of his depression.