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Pittsburgh0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 390
Chi Cubs0 1 0 1 3 3 0 0 x 8130
8
  W: J. Quintana (7-7)   L: T. Williams (3-3)
11:20 AM PT12:20 PM MT1:20 PM CT2:20 PM ET14:20 ET18:20 GMT2:20 11:20 AM MST1:20 PM EST1:50 PM VEN22:20 UAE1:20 PM CT, July 14, 2019
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois  Attendance: 39,291

Surging Cubs go for sweep against Pirates

The Chicago Cubs are off to a perfect start since returning from the All-Star break.

Now, they want to keep it going.

The Cubs will try to finish off a three-game sweep against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates in the series finale Sunday afternoon. Chicago won the opener 4-3 on Friday and cruised to a 10-4 victory on Saturday to set up a chance for the sweep.

No wonder Chicago manager Joe Maddon is feeling confident about his team despite an up-and-down start to the season.

"You're going to see a better brand of all this in the second half," Maddon said in comments published by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh wants to wrap up the series on a high note before heading south to visit the St. Louis Cardinals next week.

The Pirates have dropped back-to-back games and four of their past six. They want to avoid a repeat of early June, which included a three-game losing streak and a seven-game losing streak before the team regained its footing.

Pirates outfielder Starling Marte believes he and his teammates will be fine. Marte is coming off a two-homer performance Saturday.

"We've proven many times that even if we're behind, we're going to come out on top, and that's our mentality, that's our battle," Marte said in comments published by MLB.com. "Right now, our mentality is to be tough and to continue battling, and no matter what the situation is on the scoreboard, making sure we're giving a very tough game to the other team."

Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana (6-7, 4.19 ERA) will make his 18th start of the season. He won his final two games before the break, posting back-to-back quality starts, and will pitch on nine days' rest since his most recent appearance July 4.

In seven career starts against the Pirates, Quintana is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA. He has six walks and 46 strikeouts in 42 innings.

Pittsburgh will counter with right-hander Trevor Williams (3-2, 4.54), who will make his 13th start of the season. It will mark his first start since being activated from the paternity list earlier this week after he and his wife welcomed an adopted daughter.

Williams posted a picture of his daughter, Josephine Marie, on his Twitter account.

"Through the gift of adoption & the selfless love of her birth mom, Jojo has blessed out family," Williams said in the tweet. "We are overjoyed and can't imagine our family without her. We ask for prayers for our family and for Jojo's birth family."

Williams hopes adrenaline will trump new-parent fatigue against the Cubs. He is 3-4 with a 4.25 ERA in nine games (seven starts) against Chicago, with 19 walks and 30 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings.

Willson Contreras will try to stay hot after belting a three-run homer for the Cubs on Saturday.

Veteran starter Jon Lester also homered in the win. He said Chicago is focused on another playoff run this season.

"I don't think anybody in the clubhouse is worried about where we're at," Lester said in comments published by the Sun-Times. "We've just got to dig ourselves (out). ... The outside noise, the panic and all that other stuff won't affect us."

--Field Level Media

Updated July 14, 2019

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