CHICAGO — Zach Davies pitched into the sixth inning in his Chicago Cubs debut, leading his new team to a 4-3 victory over the short-handed Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
Davies, acquired in the December trade that sent Yu Darvish to San Diego, permitted two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked three.
Pittsburgh played without third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left wrist. Hayes, one of the preseason favorites for NL Rookie of the Year, got hurt on a swing during Saturday’s 5-1 loss.
Hayes hit a two-run homer during Pittsburgh’s 5-3 victory Thursday but he also is highly regarded for his fielding skills. And his absence was particularly noticeable when Phillip Evans, Hayes’ replacement at third, was unable to stop Javier Baez‘s hard-hit grounder in the sixth, allowing Bryant to score and handing the Cubs a 4-2 lead with the error.
The Pirates pulled within one again on Evans’ RBI single in the eighth, but Rex Brothers got Gregory Polanco to bounce into an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners. Craig Kimbrel then worked a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.
Pittsburgh right-hander Mitch Keller (0-1) lasted just three innings on his 25th birthday. He walked four and was charged with three runs and two hits.
While Keller struggled, Davies (1-0) cruised into the sixth before running into trouble with two out.
Utilityman Wilmer Difo was promoted from the taxi squad to replace Hayes on the active roster. Right-hander Tyler Bashlor was designated for assignment to make room for Difo on the Pirates’ 40-man roster.
Cubs: C Austin Romine (right knee sprain) is taking batting practice, running the bases and doing other baseball activities. Manager David Ross said Romine will go to the team’s alternate site at some point for some live at-bats. “Looks like he’s in a pretty good place,” Ross said.
Cubs: RHP Trevor Williams makes his Cubs debut Monday against LHP Brett Anderson and the visiting Milwaukee Brewers. Williams is looking to bounce back this season after he went 2-8 with a 6.18 ERA in 11 starts for Pittsburgh last year.