Pirates’ seven-run second inning sinks Zach Davies and Cubs in 8-2 loss
Davies allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings in the shortest outing of his seven-year career. He was uncharacteristically wild in the second, issuing walks to two of the first three batters in the inning and three overall. The Pirates made sure to make him pay.
PITTSBURGH — The starting rotation had very few hiccups in the Cubs’ first seven games and saved the bullpen from needing to eat up a lot of innings. But right-hander Zach Davies ran into trouble Saturday, and the Cubs had a long, rainy night in the Steel City.
Davies had a second inning to forget in an 8-2 loss to the Pirates. It not only was the Cubs’ worst start of the young season, but it was the shortest start of his seven-year career.
‘‘It’s one of those things where you’re still trying to make pitches,’’ Davies said. ‘‘Trying to stay down in the zone for the type of pitcher that I am. They had a good approach off me, and I just didn’t adjust.’’
Things started well for Davies, who pitched a 1-2-3 first inning with a strikeout after being staked to a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Kris Bryant. But things quickly got out of hand for him in the second.
Pinpoint control is a must for Davies, and things begin to unravel when that control starts to slip. He was uncharacteristically wild in the second, issuing walks to two of the first three batters in the inning and three overall. The Pirates made sure to make him pay.
The Pirates sent 12 men to the plate in the seven-run inning, collecting five hits, including doubles by Erik Gonzalez, Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds. Davies threw only 24 of his 44 pitches for strikes and got only two swings-and-misses.
‘‘It’s really going out there and competing,’’ Davies said. ‘‘The second inning, I didn’t do that. Putting our team in a hole like that early in the game, it’s tough to come back. It’s tough to try and keep your guys in the game.’’
It was the first time the Cubs had allowed seven runs in an inning since July 29 of last season against the Reds. It also was the first time they faced 12 batters in an inning since Sept. 24, 2019, against the Pirates.
‘‘I think [Davies was] kind of behind in the count a little bit,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘They stayed on some pitches really well. It looked like they were all the over the off-speed stuff. Anything up in the zone, it seemed like they were on it. Really good approach up the middle, not trying to pull off.’’
Colin Moran delivered the knockout blow, with his two-run single giving the Pirates a commanding 7-1 lead and forcing Ross to pull Davies in favor of reliever Alec Mills.
Davies allowed a career-high-tying seven runs, five hits and three walks in 1‰ innings. It was the fourth time in his career he had allowed seven runs.
The start also broke a streak of 19 consecutive games in which Davies had allowed three earned runs or fewer, dating to Aug. 31, 2019.
‘‘It’s one of those things where it definitely sucks while it happens,’’ he said. ‘‘The next five to six days, you constantly think about these types of games. But, you know, tomorrow’s a working day. The next day is a working day and every day after. So my redemption is whenever my next start is.
‘‘As a starter, it kind of sucks because you have all that downtime in between that you continue to think about the bad starts. But I’m going to work hard and I’m going to study. I’m going to do my video work and everything in between to be successful the next time out.’’