The National League Central race is extremely competitive and tight. This was a big game for both the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates heading into Independence Day. Pittsburgh were only a couple of games back of first place in the National League Central entering the day and they could potentially have swept them if they picked up another win.
Kris Bryant and Chicago had other ideas by going 4-for-5, including a first-inning home run off of Jordan Lyles in a 11-3 win over Pittsburgh.
Albert Almora also hit a solo home run for the Cubs in the second-inning off of Lyles.
The Pirates scored two runs in the second-inning on a Jung Ho Kang RBI double and a Elias Diaz sacrifice fly.
Wilson Contreras hit a two-run homer for Chicago in the fourth-inning off of Jordan Lyles.
Josh Bell had a sacrifice fly for Pittsburgh in the third-inning.
During the fourth-inning, Joe Maddon, the manager of the Chicago Cubs was ejected because he was frustrated about Lyles throwing pitches high and inside on Javier Baez and people had to hold Maddon back.
The Chicago Cubs busted the game open in the fifth-inning on a Anthony Rizzo RBI single, a bases-loaded hit by pitch in the head that David Bote drew, Kyle Schwarber walked with the bases loaded, and Javier Baez had an RBI single.
Chicago scored two more runs in the sixth-inning on a Wilson Contreras on an RBI ground out and a solo home run by Robel Garcia off of Clay Holmes.
The winning pitcher for the Cubs was Jose Quintana (6-7). He pitched seven innings and gave up six hits and three runs. Quintana walked one batter and struck out six.
The losing pitcher for the Pirates was Jordan Lyles (5-5). He pitched four innings and gave up 10 hits and seven runs. Lyles walked one batter and struck out seven.
As of right now, Chicago is tied for first in the National League Central Standings with a 46-42 record with the Milwaukee Brewers. The St. Louis Cardinals are 43-42. St. Louis is 1.5 games back in the division standings and the wild card standings.
Pittsburgh is three games back in the division standings and the wild card standings with a 42-44 record.
The Cincinnati Reds are only 3.5 games back for first place in the National League Central. They are also only 3.5 games back for a wild card spot in the National League.
The Chicago Cubs will have an off day tomorrow and they will be on the road against the Chicago White Sox starting on Saturday evening for a two-game set before the All-Star Break.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will host the Milwaukee Brewers for a monster three-game set before the All-Star Break begins.