Bae returns to starting lineup, drives in wedge with ‘storming’ triple…Pittsburgh wins second straight, peppers Cubs with runs

After returning to the starting lineup, Bae Ji-hwan (24-Pittsburgh Pirates) proved his worth with a three-run double.

Bae went 1-for-3 with a home run, one RBI, one run scored, and one walk while batting ninth in the lineup against the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on April 22 (KST). His season batting average rose slightly from .236 to .237.

In the top of the second inning, with runners on first and second, Bae hit a three-pitch changeup from Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks for a grounder to first base.

In the top of the fourth inning, Bae stepped up to the plate for the second time with the bases loaded and two outs, but he was more cautious. After not reacting to Hendricks’ outside pitch, Bae watched the ball for five pitches before drawing a walk to load the bases. However, he was unable to follow up with a hit to advance.

In the top of the sixth inning, Bae stepped to the plate for the third time with the bases loaded and Hendricks’ two-pitch changeup and fouled off a pitcher’s choice. In his three at-bats with Hendricks, he had a single and a walk.

Bae Ji-hwan celebrates his return to the starting lineup / Photo: Getty Images Korea

The long-awaited hit came in the bottom of the eighth inning. With Pittsburgh leading 3-1 and one out in the top of the eighth, Bae worked a 1-2 count against Cubs reliever Brad Boxberger. The four-pitch changeup was well away from the body, but Bae kept his stance low to get a good look at it, and the sharp hit sailed past the first baseman’s diving catch and into right field.

Jared Triolo, who had already broken off his start the moment the pitcher threw,스포츠토토 raced home for Bae’s 29th RBI of the season. Bae sprinted around second base, his helmet coming off, and slid into third base ahead of Song. It was his second triple of the season and first in 13 at-bats. The next batter, Connor Cho, singled up the middle and Bae crossed the plate with ease for his 52nd RBI of the season.

Leading 5-1 in the top of the eighth, Pittsburgh gave up three runs on defense in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to 5-4. Down by one, the Pirates got a run back in the top of the ninth when pinch-hitter Joshua Palacios hit a three-run home run with runners on first and third to make it 8-4. The Cubs rallied in the bottom of the ninth when Dansby Swanson hit a two-run homer, but the Pirates held on for the 8-6 win.

With their second straight win, the Pirates peppered the Cubs in the National League Central. The Cubs, who are in the hunt for the third NL wild card, dropped their second straight to Pittsburgh, giving them a .516 winning percentage and a tie for third place with the Miami Marlins (79-74), who didn’t play today.

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