PITTSBURGH — September hasn’t been kind to right-hander Alec Mills, and the results have shown that. Since nearly throwing a complete-game shutout against the Sox, the performances that have followed haven’t mirrored his best outing of the year.
“I mean to be honest with you, I think this is probably one of the worst stretches I’ve ever pitched,” Mills said after the Cubs’ 8-6 loss Tuesday. “It’s pretty frustrating.”
Mills got off to a rough start, allowing a three-run homer to Colin Moran in the first inning.
But the Cubs’ offense stromed back with three runs in the third on RBI singles by Matt Duffy, Nick Martini and Frank Schwindel. Three more runs in the fifth, with Ian Happ adding an RBI single, Duffy an RBI double and Martini’s sac fly made it 6-3.
Mills settled down after the first-inning homer and looked to be in control. He retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced and entered the sixth inning with a chance at a quality start.
“[Mills] kind of settled in there as he got going into the game,” manager David Ross said. “Looked like he was moving the ball in and out. Looked like the secondary stuff was working really well tonight.”
But that’s where things fell apart for the right-hander as he ran out of gas. He allowed the first three hitters of the inning to reach on a walk and two singles before Ross brought in left-handed reliever Adam Morgan.
After a sacrifice fly made it 6-4, Morgan surrendered a two-run triple to Hoy Park to tie the game. The Pirates would take a 7-6 lead on an RBI-single by Michael Chavis off righty Trevor Megill.
“They jumped him there late in the game and got some runners on and tried to get the bullpen shut down,” Ross said.
Mills allowed six earned runs and seven hits over five-plus innings. He has a 7.82 ERA over his last five starts.
Adam taking Thompson’s spot
Right-hander Jason Adam was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take Keegan Thompson’s place on the active roster. Adam struck out the side on Friday against the Cardinals.