Saturday, May 18, 2024

Paul Skenes Dominates with 11 Strikeouts in Pirates' 9-3 Victory Over Cubs

Paul Skenes delivered an impressive performance, striking out 11 batters over six no-hit innings to secure his first major league win as the Pittsburgh Pirates triumphed 9-3 against the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

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In just his second MLB start, Skenes (1-0) demonstrated exceptional control and velocity, striking out the first seven batters he faced. The 22-year-old right-hander's only blemish came in the fifth inning when he issued a walk to Michael Busch, the lone baserunner allowed during his outing. Skenes threw 100 pitches, 67 of them strikes, before being relieved by Carmen Mlodzinski in the seventh inning.

"It’s really tough to compete without fastball execution, no matter who you are,” Skenes said. “It was a lot better today, something I could lean on a little bit more than the last week.”

Offensively, the Pirates were led by Connor Joe, who finished with three hits, while Jared Triolo and Yasmani Grandal each contributed two hits and three RBIs. Andrew McCutchen and Jared Triolo also homered for Pittsburgh.

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (0-4) struggled, giving up eight runs (seven earned) and 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 10.57. Miguel Amaya hit a solo home run for Chicago, but it wasn't enough to overcome Skenes' dominant pitching and the Pirates' robust offense.

"It was extremely impressive,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Skenes' performance. “I mean he went right after them.”

The Pirates have now taken the first two games of the four-game series, while the Cubs have lost four of their last five games.

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