Pirates top Cubs 4-3

Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen homered and Felipe Rivero earned a five-out save to lead the Pirates to their fifth win in seven games, beating the Cubs 4-3 Saturday night at PNC Park.

Here are the notes of a game that has nobody complaining even though Felipe Rivero pitched the eighth.

THE BIG STORY:
For the second consecutive night, Rivero pitching in the eighth is the big story.

Rivero got the job done in the eighth Friday, but his pitch count was too high to go in the ninth. The Pirates blew the save and lost 9-5.

On Saturday, Hurdle went with Daniel Hudson to open the inning, electing to bring Rivero in for a five out save chance. He converted it with relative ease, even if he was used more than Hurdle wanted.

“He’s been very, very good,” Clint Hurdle said. “…It’s a big save. It’s a good save for us. Bounce back game after last night.”

Rivero said he had not been called on for a five out finish since he was in AAA. This homestand alone he’s been asked for a pair of four out saves: June 10 and 11 against the Marlins.

For him, his success comes from being prepared and not scared, regardless of the inning.

“It’s my third year, and I think I know them pretty well, and I know who they are,” Rivero said. “I think the first two [years], because I was a rookie, you only ever seen those guys on TV. And now you’re facing them, and you get a little scared…this year, I’m just trying not to worry about that, because I think I’m a little more mature pitching.”

HOW THEY SCORED:
Gregory Polanco put the Pirates on the board with a two run home run in the first. Jake Arrieta tied the game with a two run bomb in the fifth, but Adam Frazier gave the Bucs the lead again in the home half when he snuck a single through a drawn in infield.

Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run in the sixth, and Addison Russell did the same in the seventh.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED:
Frazier tapped a ball back to Arrieta to leadoff the first. Arrieta misplayed it and Frazier reached. The next batter, Francisco Cervelli, hit a nubber in front of the plate, but Miguel Montero was wild on the throw and Frazier was safe at second.

Frazier scored on Polanco’s home run later that inning.

TOE THE RUBBER:
Ivan Nova (7-4) gave the Pirates’ bullpen a much needed reprieve, going seven innings of three run ball. He allowed six hits, two walk and two home runs, striking out six along the way. He started with strike one on 15 of 27 batters and retired 12 on three pitches or less.

Hudson was used to get one out in the eighth before Rivero. The ace lefty picked up a five out save on 17 pitches, even after walking Kris Bryant to start his outing. It’s his third save of the year.

Arrieta (6-5) was pulled after 4.2 wild innings. He allowed three runs- two earned- on four hits. He fanned seven and walked two, but he also hit a batter and threw two wild pitches in the fifth.

I SPY:
Nova with a giant fist pump and yell after getting Jon Jay swinging to end the seventh. He also gave a very enthusiastic wave to the crowd walking to the dugout.

LINE OF THE NIGHT:
Gregory Polanco: 2-3, HR, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, R

HE SAID IT:
“It was a lot of emotion going into today’s game. I feel like it was one of the best games I played in Pittsburgh so far.” – Ivan Nova on his reaction after finishing the seventh.

ON DECK:
Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90) and John Lackey (4-7, 5.26) will pitch the rubber game Sunday. First pitch is 1:35 p.m..

NUMB3RS:
1. McCutchen extended his hitting streak to eight games with his sixth inning home run, During this streak, he is slashing .467/.529/.933.

2. Polanco’s third inning double was his first since May 12. His first inning homer was his first extra-base hit since May 28.

3. Nova has pitched at least six innings in all 14 of his outings this year. The last Pirates’ starter to do that was Eddie Solomon in 1981 (17 starts).

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