Video: Gerrit Cole hit a no-doubt home run, the first of his career

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Pirates starter Gerrit Cole struck out eight Cubs over six innings at Wrigley Field on Sunday afternoon, but that wasn’t his only contribution to his team’s win, which combined with a Brewers loss to the Cardinals, moved the Pirates back into second place in the NL Central.

In the top of the seventh, with a runner on second base and one out, Cole smoked a Blake Parker first-pitch fastball near the top row of the bleachers in left field, a no doubt two-run home run to push the Pirates’ lead to 10-2. It’s the first home run — and extra-base hit — of the 23-year-old’s career. Among pitchers with at least 30 plate appearances this season, Cole has the third-highest OPS at .569. He trails Travis Wood (.739) and Madison Bumgarner (.726).

On the pitching side, Cole got the win, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits. He struck out eight without issuing a walk.

Video: Cubs score run on Pirates’ appeal throw

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2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.

One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.

The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.