The Pirates returned to Forbes Field and took the first game of a doubleheader from Chicago, 8-5. In the second game, they couldn’t hold a ninth-inning lead and missed a sweep when they lost in the tenth, 9-8.
In the opener, late-season pickup Red Oldham made his second start since joining the Pirates. Oldham allowed 15 hits, but tossed a complete game. He got tough when it counted, holding the Cubs to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranding a dozen.
The Bucs’ hitters gave Oldham some room to maneuver against former teammate Wilbur Cooper. They got on the board first when Pie Traynor, Stuffy McInnis and Johnny Gooch all singled to produce a run in the bottom of the second.
In the fourth, the home team went up, 6-0. The rally started with a triple by Glenn Wright, who scored on another McInnis single. Stuffy moved up on a walk and scored on a single by Max Carey, who was making his first start since returning from a mid-August injury. Fresco Thompson, still subbing at second for an injured Eddie Moore, doubled in two runs, moved up on an error and scored on a hit by Kiki Cuyler.
The Cubs got on the board in the fifth when Howard Freigau doubled in Cooper, but Oldham got the run right back. His triple in the bottom of the inning scored McInnis, who’d reached on his third hit. That made it 7-1, then the Bucs added one more in the sixth when Cuyler legged out his 23rd triple of the year and scored on a hit by Clyde Barnhart.
The Bucs went quiet after that, but there was a little late excitement. A two-out error on Thompson let in a run in the eighth to make it 8-2. In the ninth, the Cubs’ first two hitters reached and Mandy Brooks followed with a three-run home run. That cut the lead to 8-5, but Oldham settled in and retired the next three hitters.
The win boosted Oldham’s record to 2-0. Cuyler had four hits and fell a home run short of a cycle.
In game two, the Pirates had to battle back from the start when Ray Kremer failed to retire a batter in the first. He faced just four hitters. Sparky Adams started the game with a triple and Cliff Heathcote lined a ball to right that eluded capture long enough to go for an inside-the-park home run. When Freigau tripled and Art Jahn followed with an RBI single, Bill McKechnie replaced Kremer with Lee Meadows. A double by former Pirate Charlie Grimm put the Cubs up, 4-0.
The Pirates halved their deficit in the third, with some help. After Cubs’ starter Guy Bush walked Meadows, Carson Bigbee singled and, as the Cubs fumbled the ball around for two errors, Meadows scored and Bigbee took third. Another error, on Thompson’s grounder brought in Bigbee.
Meadows kept Chicago off the board from the second through the seventh, except for an unearned run in the fifth. That came home on an outfield error following a single by Denver Grigsby and an outfield error by Bigbee, making it 5-2.
The Pirates meanwhile came back to tie the game. With Cuyler on base in the sixth, Wright lined a ball to center that got by center fielder Grigsby, allowing Wright to circle the bases for a home run. It was his 17th of the year and gave him 108 RBIs. The tying run came in the seventh with Cuyler beat out a grounder to first with the bases loaded and one out. The hit scored Meadows, but the Pirates failed to get any more runs in.
The Cubs got the lead back in the eighth when two hits and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases to Gabby Hartnett. The Cubs’ catcher lined a ball deep to Cuyler in center for a sacrifice fly. That put them up, 6-5, but the Pirates came back in the bottom half to take an 7-6 lead. A double by Wright and an error put runners at the corners. Earl Smith hit a sacrifice fly to drive in one run and Meadows singled in a second.
Unfortunately, Meadows couldn’t hold the lead in the ninth. Heathcote led off with a double, moved up on a flyball and scored on a grounder by Jahn.
The Pirates stranded two runners in the bottom of the ninth and the Cubs quickly took the lead in the tenth. Mike Gonzalez, who’d replaced Hartnett behind the plate, doubled in Grimm. Gonzalez later scored when Wright booted Heathcote’s grounder. That made it 9-7.
The Pirates mounted a comeback, but fell short. With two out, Bigbee singled and Thompson tripled. That finally knocked Bush out, but Tony Kaufmann came to get Cuyler on a popup.
Meadows took the loss to drop to 18-9. Bigbee had three hits. The Giants were idle, so the Bucs retained their eight and a half game lead.