Christopher Morel hits a walk-off RBI single in the 9th to give the Chicago Cubs a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates

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Chicago Cubs players pumped up after winning

Christopher Morel singled in Cody Bellinger with one out in the ninth, giving the Chicago Cubs a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.

Bellinger initiated the winning rally with a ground-rule double down the left-field line off David Bednar. Morel then hit a 3-2 pitch up the middle, and Bellinger narrowly beat Michael A. Taylor’s throw to the plate, a play that was confirmed after video review.

“I knew it was close,” said Bellinger, who slid in just avoiding Joey Bart’s tag. “I was extremely happy when they said it was confirmed.” Hector Neris (4-0) pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two, for the win.

“Our pitching staff today was the only reason why we had any chance of getting a win,” said Bellinger, who finished with two hits. “They all did a tremendous job to keep us in the game.”

Cubs starter Shota Imanaga threw seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball in his third straight no-decision. The 30-year-old left-hander from Japan struck out seven and walked one, throwing 68 of 88 pitches for strikes.

Shota Imanaga delivers to the batter

Imanaga lowered his ERA to 0.84 through his first nine major league starts, the lowest mark through nine since earned run average started being tracked as a stat by baseball in 1913. He’s won five of them without a loss and was dominant again on Saturday.

Imanaga’s ERA beats out Los Angeles Dodger Fernando Valenzuela’s 0.91 in 1981.

“To be honest, I’m not really too interested in my stats or any historical value,” Imanaga said through a translator. “But just knowing there are so many good pitchers that came before me and the fact that in the past there are plenty of guys who were able to do that is a good learning experience.”

Mark Leiter Jr. followed with a perfect eighth, striking out the side.

Pittsburgh’s Bailey Falter pitched scoreless, three-hit ball through 7 2/3 innings, the longest outing of his career. The 27-year-old left-hander struck out two and walked two, throwing 55 of 83 pitches for strikes.


By Michael Smith

Hi. Hailing from Manila, I am an avid consumer of anime, gaming, football and professional wrestling. You can mostly find me either writing articles, binging shows or engaged in an engrossing discussion about the said interests.

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