Surging Cubs race past reeling Pirates 8-0 to spoil touted prospect Henry Davis’ MLB debut

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 19: Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with teammates after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 at PNC Park on June 19, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Drew Smyly gave up three hits in five innings, Mike Tauchman hit a two-run single during a brief downpour and the surging Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 on Monday night.

Smyly (7-4) worked around five walks to win his second straight start following a three-game losing streak. Tauchman finished with three hits and drove in three runs. Dansby Swanson added two hits as Chicago spoiled the major-league debut of highly touted Pirates prospect Henry Davis.

Davis, the top pick in the 2021 draft, started in right field and doubled down the left-field line in his first at-bat. The 23-year-old, who will play in the outfield for now while fine-tuning his work behind the plate, later walked but it wasn’t enough as Pittsburgh lost its seventh straight. The Pirates finished with just five hits, the 18th time this season they’ve had five hits or fewer.

Osvaldo Bido (0-1) pitched well in his second major-league start save for a bumpy second inning that coincided with a short deluge that the teams played through even as the fans in the stands scrambled for cover.

Chicago has won seven of eight overall, four of them against the Pirates. The Cubs swept Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field last week, including a 10-6 victory last Wednesday in which Smyly earned the victory after Chicago rallied from a four-run deficit.

No such comeback was necessary this time.

The Cubs took control during the second inning when the skies opened and Bido momentarily lost command. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Pirates pitching coach Oscar Marin went out to talk to Bido, with several Pittsburgh players appearing to plead with the umpires to stop the game until the weather cleared.

Instead, they played on, and Tauchman followed by lacing a single through the raindrops into center field to score Christopher Morel and Yan Gomes. Nico Hoerner’s single to center scored Miles Mastrobuoni and the Cubs led 3-0.

That’s all the offense Smyly and three relievers would require, though the 34-year-old Smyly didn’t have his best stuff. His five walks tied a career-high he set on May 19, 2014, while pitching for Detroit in a loss to Cleveland.

Pittsburgh, however, could not take advantage. The Pirates left the bases loaded in the third and again in the fifth without scoring on a night they went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

The club is hoping Davis’ arrival will help provide a boost to an offense that entered Monday in the bottom half of the league in runs and home runs. The 23-year-old hit 11 homers in 51 games in the minors this season, earning a promotion to the majors after less than two weeks at Triple-A Indianapolis.

He certainly looked at home in his first plate appearance, turning on a 92 mph sinker from Smyly and smoking it over third base. The ball caromed off a railing in left field, giving Davis time to make it to second.

He never made it home, however, stranded at third when Connor Joe lined out with the bases loaded to end the inning, symbolic of a night when Pittsburgh left 10 men on.

Bido, who impressed in his debut last week against the Cubs, settled down after the skies cleared. Bido retired 12 of 13 batters in one stretch and struck out seven against two walks in six innings to boost his chances of sticking around a while longer.


The series continues on Tuesday. Chicago’s Marcus Stroman (8-4, 2.45 ERA) will go for his seventh straight win against Pittsburgh’s Johan Oviedo (3-6, 4.40).