Seiya Suzuki’s 2 Homers lift Cubs to win 2-1 over Pirates – NBC Chicago

Seiya Suzuki homered twice, Drew Smyly pitched five scoreless innings and the Chicago Cubs beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on Tuesday, spoiling the Pirates’ home opener.

Suzuki connected for the opening shots in the fifth and seventh. One of Japan’s top players, Suzuki signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Cubs last month.

“I just try to stay aggressive and try to get the pitcher to throw more pitches,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “Obviously I’m lucky, and I just want to keep contributing like that.”

Smyly (1-0) allowed three hits and none in his Cubs debut. The left-hander agreed to a one-year contract last month.

Smyly also signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Cubs in December 2017, but he never pitched for Chicago. Returning from Tommy John surgery, he missed time to play a major league game in 2018 and was traded to Texas in November.

Smyly laughed when asked about finally making his Cubs debut.

“Everything works for a reason, everyone has a different path,” Smyly said. “I’ve been very lucky in my career and feel very lucky to be back here and pitching for the Cubs. It felt good to go out there and shoot well and help the team win a game.

The Pirates earned their lone home run from Bryan Reynolds against Mychal Givens in the eighth.

David Robertson worked a perfect ninth for his second save.

José Quintana (0-1) made his first appearance for Pittsburgh, pitching five effective innings against one of his former teams. The veteran southpaw joined the Pirates as a free agent in November after posting a 6.43 ERA during an injury-plagued 2021 season with the Los Angeles and San Francisco Angels.

“All day I thought he was throwing the ball well,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “If he comes out in the rest of his starts and kicks the ball around like that, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”

Suzuki drove a full Quintana throw deep to right center in the fifth. He connected against Anthony Banda in the seventh for his third homer in his fourth major league game.

“There wasn’t too much information about him,” Quintana said of Suzuki. “I tried to follow the plan, throw the fastball close to him. I think when he hit the home run the ball came back in the middle. He’s tough.

Suzuki reached base at least twice, scored a run and made a run in each game. The last Cubs player to start the season with a longer streak was Mark Grudzielanek with five in 2003.

“He did a really good job controlling the strike zone,” Cubs interim manager Andy Green said. “He hunted a bit in spring training and he was probably trying to show some things. But since the start of the season, he’s really gotten pitchers to hit.

Smyly forced a career-high 11 strikeouts.

Ian Happ had two hits for Chicago. He’s 7 for 10 in three games so far this season.

THOMPSON CALLS

Cubs right-hander Keegan Thompson appealed his three-game suspension for hitting Milwaukee’s Andrew McCutchen with a pitch on Saturday. He remains eligible to play until the appeals process is complete.

Ross served his one-game suspension for the incident. Green, who led San Diego from 2016 to 2019, led the club in Ross’ absence.

“It’s out of my control. It’s part of the rules,” Ross said when asked if he thought the suspension was warranted.

HAYES CASE COMPLETED

The Pirates and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes finalized an eight-year, $70 million deal ahead of the game. The deal spans the 2029 season and includes a club option for 2030.

“Being a top player means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Hayes said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Alec Mills (back weakness) threw 77 pitches Sunday during extended spring training. He was slated for a bullpen season Tuesday in Arizona. … LHP Wade Miley (left elbow inflammation) played catch before the game.

Pirates: RHP Luis Oviedo (sprained right ankle) began a rehabilitation mission on Sunday after injury at Low-A Bradenton and kicked a scoreless inning.

NEXT

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 1.29 ERA) starts Wednesday. He allowed a run in 5 1/3 innings against Milwaukee on Opening Day.

Pirates: RHP Zach Thompson (3-7, 3.24 ERA in 2021) makes his debut for Pittsburgh after being acquired from Miami on an offseason trade.

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Lance B. Holton