Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 9/15/12

The Pirates continue to plummet, as they lost their seventh in a row on Friday to fall within one game of .500. I’m honestly at a loss for words besides simply describing the action, so here goes.

James McDonald was disappointing yet again, continuing a personal second half free-fall that won’t seem to end. He was shaky early on, but was able to pitch out of trouble for a few innings. That type of pitching won’t work forever, though, and the Cubs cashed in a baserunner in the third for a 1-0 lead. J-Mac then walked the bases loaded in the fourth, prompting Clint Hurdle to yank him from the game. Just a terrible outing. Three walks in an inning and failing to get through four…yikes.

Justin Wilson yielded a single for two runs, and Chris Leroux allowed another. It was 4-0 Cubs and looking bleak, as rookie Chris Rusin was cruising against the Pirates the first time through the lineup. But, the Bucs showed some life in the middle innings. Gaby Sanchez doubled and scored on a Pedro Alvarez line single in the fifth, and the Bucs set up shop in the sixth when Starling Marte and Garrett Jones singled in front of Sanchez. Gaby delivered again, bringing the Bucs within two. After a Michael McKenry walk, Pedro bounced out with the bases loaded to bring in one run. Clint Barmes walked to load the bases again, and Hurdle sent up Neil Walker.

This is where the game turned. It’s not as if Hurdle didn’t have any better options, but Walker still wasn’t a good one (he hadn’t faced real pitching in weeks, and was batting righty vs a lefty). Neil took some normal-looking cuts but struck out, leaving the Pirates behind 4-3.

Tony Watson got two outs in the sixth, but with a man on first Hurdle turned to Jared Hughes to finish the inning. Instead, Hughes finished the game by plunking the batter on the first pitch he threw and yielding a giant bomb to Starlin Castro on his second. 7-3 Cubs, and basically a ballgame.

Andrew McCutchen hit an opposite field homer for the only other Pirate run. That was great to see (I don’t think he’s hit one of those in a long time, and it’s a sign that his approach is in the right place) but Cutch had a horrible game before that – striking out twice against the soft tossing lefty Rusin, and weakly bouncing out with a man on 2nd and no outs on a 3-1 pitch.

Bryan Morris made his MLB debut in the 8th (FINALLY!!) and tossed a 1-2-3 inning. The Cubs’ bullpen shut it down as well (after the McCutchen bomb), making it a 7-4 final.

Cubs 7, Pirates 4 / Box / 2012 Record: 72-71 / Next: Saturday, vs. Cubs, 1:05

MVP: Sanchez (+.081) / LVP: Hughes (-.223) / Key play: Castro’s HR

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Three things to watch for on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Pierre-Paul could face charges for possession of fireworks

Report: Warriors trade David Lee to Celtics for Gerald Wallace

Rivers believes Gates' PED use was unintentional

Favre felt 'bothered' by Green Bay's decision to trade him


Ned Yost explains Alex Rodriguez’s All-Star Game snub

Donovan McNabb arrested for DUI after rear-ending car

It is progress time for the Philadelphia 76ers

Andrew Luck talks Super Bowl hopes and Patriots

Rapper rips David West for taking pay cut to join Spurs

Report: Kevin Garnett will return for 21st NBA season

Evaluating Tarasenko’s eight-year, $60M contract

Tigers should accept reality and become trade deadline sellers

5 running backs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

Roy Halladay snaps selfie while getting a speeding ticket

National Basketball Players Association to set up heath insurance for retirees

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

NHL expansion process begins, application cutoff set for Aug. 10

Cardinals send rookies to Starbucks to pick up order

Mark Cuban fined for discussing Matthews and Jordan deals

Baseball's most productive low-authority hitters of all-time

USWNT's World Cup triumph four years in the making

Cubs announcer defends saying 'no-hitter' during game

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

5 RBs who could break the Heisman Trophy streak

Watch to watch on Hard Knocks with the Texans

Tigers should become trade deadline sellers

JPP could face criminal charges?

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

MLB's 2015 All-Star snubs

Gronk, David Ortiz in latest Dunkin Donuts iced coffee video

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.