Cubs collect just 2 hits as their offense sputters again in a 7-0 defeat to the Pirates for their 3rd-straight loss

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The Chicago Cubs avoided being no-hit and Javier Baez took exception to getting hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.

That was the extent of their success Thursday as Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl threw seven innings of two-hit ball in a 7-0 victory at PNC Park.

The Cubs (32-25) lost their third consecutive game as their magic number for winning the National League Central title remains at three, pending the result of the St. Louis Cardinals’ game Thursday night against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cubs scored only three runs total in their last three games and were blanked for the second time in five games.

Pirates starting pitchers limited the Cubs to three earned runs on 11 hits in the final 27? innings of the four-game series.

Kuhl (2-3), who entered Thursday’s game with a 5.03 ERA, didn’t allow a hit until Anthony Rizzo doubled off the right-field wall with one out in the sixth.

Baez, who was 1-for-14 in the series and is batting .196, expressed his displeasure in the seventh after getting hit by a pitch and barked at Kuhl while walking slowly to first base.

Rizzo batted leadoff in place of Ian Happ, who tweaked his ankle in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss. Jason Heyward batted third for the first time this season.

But by that time Rizzo collected the Cubs’ first hit, they already trailed 6-0 as Alec Mills, in his second start since pitching a no-hitter on Sept. 13, threw one of his worst games.

Mills was tagged for eight hits — including three home runs — in 3? innings.

Colin Moran, Bryan Reynolds and Adam Frazier hit homers in the first three innings.

Reliever Kyle Ryan took over for Mills in the fourth with runners at second and third, but Reynolds hit a single to score Frazier.

Switch-hitter Josh Bell, who was batting .170 with one home run in 47 at-bats against left-handers, pulled a two-run home run down the left field line in the fifth against Ryan.

The Cubs return to Chicago to play the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in the final regular season series starting Friday night.


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