McCutchen reaches milestone as Pirates top Cubs 8-1
CHICAGO (AP) Andrew McCutchen reached the 1,000-hit plateau Wednesday night, which was a big deal to nearly everyone in the Pittsburgh Pirates' clubhouse - except McCutchen.
''It's a good milestone,'' he said, ''but I don't want to stop there.''
The All-Star center fielder was more focused on the final result, Pittsburgh's 8-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
''It was good to get a win,'' he said.
Gerrit Cole allowed three hits over six innings, McCutchen had the key hit with a two-run triple and the Pirates salvaged the finale of the three-game series, snapping the Cubs' four-game winning streak.
''All we had a chance was to win one game,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ''We won one game, so we'll get out of here.''
McCutchen, who went 2 for 5, reached the milestone with an eighth-inning single.
Cole (4-0) allowed an unearned run in six innings, striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 1.76. The right-hander is 6-0 in six career starts against the Cubs.
''I thought he did a lockdown job,'' Hurdle said of Cole. ''He stayed focused. He kept firing and kept battling. A very solid professional start.''
Miguel Montero went 3 for 4 and drove in Chicago's lone run.
Chicago's Kyle Hendricks (0-1) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings.
''I think he's throwing the ball well,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''I think it's a matter of time when it just comes together in regards to results.''
The Pirates are saying the same thing about McCutchen, who was batting .171 before he broke open a 3-1 game with the two-run triple to deep center. If the wind was not blowing in, it probably would have been a three-run homer.
''On a different day, that ball's up top where the people sit . or used to sit,'' he said, referring to the Wrigley Field under construction.
As for his woeful batting average, McCutchen - who's hit .314 or better in each of the previous three seasons - isn't obsessing on it.
''I'm not too worried or focused that, `Oh, maybe tomorrow's the day,''' he said. ''I'm just going to keep my same routine and keep doing it every single day. I know eventually it'll go my way.''
Pirates: Gregory Polanco (tight left groin) was back in the lineup after not starting the first two games. Hurdle said Polanco ''came in (Wednesday), said he felt like he was ready to go.''
Cubs: RHP Justin Grimm (forearm inflammation) threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. ''He felt good and tentatively he's going to throw in a game - whether it's a simulated game or a game at extended (spring training) Friday or over the weekend,'' GM Jed Hoyer said.
Pirates: The road trip moves on to St. Louis where they open a three-game series against the Cardinals on Friday, with A.J. Burnett (1-0. 1.80) set to start the opener.
Cubs: Following a day off on Thursday, they host the struggling Milwaukee Brewers for a three-game series starting Friday. Jon Lester (0-2, 6.23) pitches the opener.
IN THE PAST
Before the game, the Cubs were cleared by Major League Baseball of tampering with Maddon before hiring him. ''We're all glad that's in the rear-view mirror right now,'' Maddon said.
THE SWEET SPOT
Pirates SS Jordy Mercer batted second, in front of McCutchen. Entering Wednesday, Mercer was a .345 hitter lifetime hitting second. He was 2 for 5 with an RBI on Wednesday.
''Throughout my time here, I've kind of run guys in and out of the 2 hole from time to time,'' Hurdle said. ''It's been somewhat of a honey hole to hit in, try some different guys at different times to give them that protection or that opportunity.''