Pederson's home runs lead Cubs past Pirates; Hoerner hurt

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Joc Pederson, left, celebrates with third base coach Willie Harris as he runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starter Cody Ponce, rear, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Pittsburgh.

    Chicago Cubs' Joc Pederson, left, celebrates with third base coach Willie Harris as he runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starter Cody Ponce, rear, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Pittsburgh. Associated Press

  • Chicago Cubs starter Jake Arrieta pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Pittsburgh.

    Chicago Cubs starter Jake Arrieta pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Pittsburgh. Associated Press

  • Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo drives in Javier Baez with a single during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Pittsburgh.

    Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo drives in Javier Baez with a single during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Pittsburgh. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/25/2021 11:24 PM

There were plenty of storylines attached to the Cubs' 4-3 victory at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Joc Pederson continued his hot streak by a hitting a pair of home runs, the bullpen extended its long scoreless streak, closer Craig Kimbrel climbed another rung on the all-time saves list, and the Cubs closed within a half-game of first place in the NL Central as the Cardinals lost 8-3 to the White Sox.

 

But the one the Cubs will feel the most was a misstep by Nico Hoerner as he crossed first base attempting a bunt single in the sixth inning. Hoerner went to the ground grabbing at his left hamstring and needed help getting off the field.

By all appearances, Hoerner is headed to the injured list and will likely be out 3-4 weeks at least. Shortly after the injury occurred, the Iowa Cubs pulled infielder Sergio Alcantara from a game in St. Paul and he's likely jumping on the next plane to Pittsburgh. Alcantara, 24, appeared in 10 games for the Tigers last year.

"It's big. He (Hoerner) was very emotional and rightfully so," winning pitcher Jake Arrieta said after the game. "He works tremendously hard, takes care of himself and prepares just as good as anyone I've ever seen. So it's tough to see. I feel bad for him, feel bad for our team. But we've shown the ability to have other guys step up and fill a role that's necessary until guys like that get healthy."

Hoerner would be the fourth player on the Cubs' injured list with a hamstring injury, joining Jake Marisnick, Jason Heyward and pitcher Justin Steele.

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Arrieta got off to a slow start, giving up 2 runs in the first inning. The Pirates led 3-0 when Pederson skied his first home run to right field in the third. Following an Arrieta single, Pederson tied the score with a line drive to right-center field in the fifth.

The Cubs plated the go-ahead run in the same inning when Javy Baez doubled and was driven home by Anthony Rizzo.

Pederson, now hitting .369 in May, continued to credit his mustache for the offensive surge, while admitting the facial hair is barely perceptible.

"Look at the thing. I'm sorry I can't grow a great one," Pederson said on the postgame Zoom call. "This is all I've got. This is hard work. It's there, though. I need the right lighting. I need to dye it, I think. That could be next. Then you could see it, the couple prickles I got."

The Cubs' bullpen extended its streak to 29 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. Kimbrel was greeted by a rocket double off the bat of Cole Tucker on the first pitch of the ninth inning. But he earned the save with a fly out, a strikeout of former teammate Ildemaro Vargas and a ground out to end the game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Career save No. 358 moved Kimbrel into a tie for 11th place on the all-time saves list with Troy Percival.

"I think right now we've got a good mentality down there, a good game plan, each and every guy," Kimbrel said of the bullpen. "We know how we're going to attack each guy before we even get in the situation. And we're attacking. We're not trying to pitch around guys, we're going at guys and getting guys in swing mode."

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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