Rookie Suwinski homers, lifts Pirates over Cubs

Pittsburgh Pirates' Jack Suwinski, right, celebrates with Ke'Bryan Hayes after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie Jack Suwinski, who attended high school 20 minutes from Wrigley Field, hit a tiebreaking home run and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cubs 3-2 Wednesday night, ending Chicago’s four-game winning streak.

Suwinski made his major league debut this season and began the day hitting .183 with two homers.

“I’m just so glad I had so many friends and family here that have been supporting me and encouraging me my whole life,” said Suwinski, who estimated he had between 20 to 30 people in the bleachers rooting for him. “I’m just happy I could do that in front of them and share that moment.”

With the score 2-all, the 23-year-old outfielder from Taft High School opened the fifth inning with a drive off Drew Smyly (1-5) that barely cleared the center field wall.

“It’s definitely something you think about for a long time,” Suwinski said. “You still don’t believe it when it happens. You go over it so many times in your head. It happened, and you still get chills.”

Michael Chavis’ single in the third snapped the Pirates’ scoreless streak of 20 innings. They scored in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 1-0 win over the Reds despite being no-hit by Hunter Greene and Art Warren, then lost 9-0 and 7-0 earlier this week at Wrigley Field.

Pirates relievers Mitch Keller, Duane Underwood Jr., and David Bednar allowed four hits over the final seven innings. Wil Crowe went two innings in his first start of the season after 13 relief appearances.

Underwood and Bednar combined to retire 13 of the final 15 batters they faced. Bednar pitched the final two innings to earn his eighth save in as many chances to preserve the win for Keller (1-5).

“That’s the best split-finger we’ve seen in a while (from Bednar),” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “He hadn’t used it in a while.”

Smyly struck out a season-high five in the first two innings, but the Pirates solved him quickly the second time through the order.

Ke’Bryan Hayes snapped an 0-for-12 slump with a double that hit the top of the net in center field before caroming into play. Chavis hit an RBI single past a diving Jonathan Villar at second, and Daniel Vogelbach beat the shift with a single through a large hole between second and third to cap a two-run third.

Ian Happ’s homer in the first off Crowe staked the Cubs to an early lead. Happ is batting .345 (29 for 84) with six doubles and four homers in his last 25 games against the Pirates.

Frank Schwindel hit a tying single in the Cubs fourth but was caught wandering off second base too far after Villar’s subsequent single to left.


Cubs: RHP David Robertson (COVID-19) was activated. “I’m glad I’m vaccinated and boosted,” said Robertson, who pitched a scoreless ninth. “I think it helped.” … RHP Mark Leiter Jr. optioned to Triple-A Iowa. OF Michael Hermosillo (left quad strain) transferred to IL (no designation).


Pirates: C Roberto Perez (left hamstring) will undergo season-ending surgery. Perez hasn’t played since injuring his leg May 7. “We were all hoping surgery would not be where it was going and trying to hold off as much hope as possible,” Shelton said.

Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (COVID) is expected to be activated Thursday. … RHP Alec Mills (lower back strain) will throw batting practice before Thursday’s game. … OF Clint Frazier (appendicitis) went 1 for 3 with an RBI for Iowa in an 8-1 win over Columbus.


Pirates: RHP Zach Thompson (2-3, 5.47) will oppose the Cardinals on Friday at PNC Park. Thompson pitched six scoreless innings in a 3-1 win Saturday over the Reds.

Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (1-3, 5.13) will face the Diamondbacks on Thursday at Wrigley Field. Stroman threw seven scoreless innings May 1 in a 2-0 win at Milwaukee.