Hamels takes Taillon deep for 2nd career HR


CHICAGO — All that mattered to Cubs manager Joe Maddon was Monday. He wasn’t looking ahead to any possible postseason matchups or plotting who will close a tight National League Division Series game. He definitely wasn’t involved in buying any champagne.

“I have not been part of a [party] planning committee right now,” he said.


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CHICAGO — All that mattered to Cubs manager Joe Maddon was Monday. He wasn’t looking ahead to any possible postseason matchups or plotting who will close a tight National League Division Series game. He definitely wasn’t involved in buying any champagne.

“I have not been part of a [party] planning committee right now,” he said.


View Full Game Coverage

The Pirates spoiled any celebration. Cole Hamels hit his second career home run, but that’s all the offense the Cubs could generate against Pirates starter Jameson Taillon in a 5-1 loss on Monday night at Wrigley Field.

Hamels served up a two-run homer to Francisco Cervelli in the first and an RBI double to Jose Osuna in the sixth, while Taillon shut down the Cubs on five hits over seven innings. The right-hander has given up three earned runs or fewer in each of his last 21 starts.

The Cubs did have chances, leaving the bases loaded in the fifth and stranding runners at first and third in the sixth. They began the day with a magic number of two to secure a postseason berth, but needed a win over the Pirates and a Rockies loss to the Phillies. Chicago’s magic number to clinch the NL Central remained at five.

Hamels has been a key part of the Cubs’ second half. Acquired on July 27 from the Rangers, the veteran left-hander went 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his first nine starts with Chicago. Monday was the third time he’s faced the Pirates since joining the Cubs and he had given up one unearned run over 12 innings in the two previous starts. This time, he was lifted after striking out seven and throwing 106 pitches over six innings.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Street savvy: With two outs in the Pirates’ first, Josh Bell singled to center to set up Cervelli’s 12th home run of the season, which cleared the left-field bleachers and landed on Waveland Avenue. Cervelli connected on a 92.5 mph fastball from Hamels, the 29th homer off the lefty, which is a season high, although only six of those have come with the Cubs. He served up 28 in 2008 with the Phillies.

Cervelli’s homer hits car parked outside Wrigley

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Hamels helped himself in the third when he connected on a 3-1 pitch from Taillon. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled a projected 437 feet to center. Hamels’ only other home run came on July 21, 2012, against the Giants when he played for the Phillies. He entered the game a career .170 hitter and had two hits this season with the Cubs.

Video: PIT@CHC: Hamels goes yard for 2nd career home run

UP NEXT
Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery (5-5, 3.75 ERA) will make his 18th start of the season in the second of this four-game set against the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Wrigley Field. So far, he’s 5-4 with a 3.35 ERA as a starter. In his last outing, he gave up one run over six innings in a win over the D-backs, and is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA against the Pirates this season. The Bucs will counter with righty Chris Archer (5-8, 4.49 ERA).

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

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