Cubs reach postseason despite losing to Pirates

Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:30am EDT
 
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(The Sports Xchange) - The Chicago Cubs qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2008 despite losing 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on Friday.

The Pirates (94-60) moved 4 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs (89-64) with eight regular-season games to play, but Chicago clinched a postseason berth when the Oakland A's defeated the San Francisco Giants 5-4 later that night.

Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole (18-8) worked seven full innings for the win in a tight duel with Cubs left-hander Jon Lester, who also worked seven innings and fell to 10-12 with the loss.

Pittsburgh right-handed closer Mark Melancon struggled to shut the door in the ninth.

He gave up a double to pinch hitter Chris Denorfia and a run-scoring triple to second baseman Starlin Castro before securing the victory by striking out Javier Baez for his major-league-leading 51st save.

An announced crowd of 40,432 crowded into Wrigley Field anticipating history as the Cubs sought to clinch their first postseason playoff berth since 2008.

Since then, the Cubs had wandered through five straight losing seasons -- including 101 defeats in 2012 -- plus three managers until Joe Maddon helped right the ship with a collection of veterans and promising young talent.

Cole's third-inning one-out single up the middle scored shortstop Jordy Mercer from second for a 1-0 Pirates lead.

Hitless through the first three innings, the Cubs tied the game 1-1 in the fourth.   Continued...

 
Sep 25, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro hits a RBI triple against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports