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Paul Skenes strikes out 11 in 6 no-hit innings, gets 1st win as the Pirates beat the Cubs 9-3

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Paul Skenes is doused by Martín Pérez during a television interview after the team's win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday in Chicago. Skenes pitched six no-hit frames in the victory. Associated Press

CHICAGO — Paul Skenes struck out 11 over six no-hit innings in his second major league start, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 9-3 on Friday.

Skenes allowed just one baserunner — Michael Busch on a full-count walk on the eighth pitch of the fifth-inning plate appearance — in an utterly dominant performance. After pitching through some nerves in his big league debut against the Cubs last weekend, he looked quite comfortable on a picturesque day at Wrigley Field.

“It's really tough to compete without fastball execution, no matter who you are,” Skenes said. “It was a lot better today, something I could lean on a little bit more than the last week.”

Skenes (1-0), who turns 22 on May 29, struck out his first seven batters, including the side in the first on pitches of at least 100 mph. He struck out Mike Tauchman on a 100 mph fastball on his 100th and final pitch — his 12th to reach triple digits.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 amateur draft became the third rookie with seven strikeouts to start a game, joining Jacob deGrom on Sept. 15, 2014, and Jim Deshaies on Sept. 23, 1986. He also became the first rookie with an outing of at least six no-hit innings and 10-plus strikeouts since Chris Heston threw a no-hitter for San Francisco against the New York Mets on June 9, 2015.

“It was extremely impressive,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I mean he went right after them.”

Andrew McCutchen and Jared Triolo homered for Pittsburgh, which held on for a 5-4 victory in the opener of the four-game series on Thursday night. Triolo and Yasmani Grandal each had two hits and three RBIs.

Chicago played without second baseman Nico Hoerner, who missed his fourth consecutive game because of left hamstring tightness. He is day to day.

The Cubs got their first hit when Christopher Morel lined a single into right against Carmen Mlodzinski with two outs in the seventh. Miguel Amaya homered and Morel added a two-run double in the eighth.

Chicago finished with four hits in its fourth loss in five games.

Triolo connected for a two-run drive in the third against Kyle Hendricks, and Pittsburgh broke it open with three more runs in each of the next two innings. Grandal's two-run single made it 8-0 in the fifth.

Hendricks (0-4) was tagged for a season-high eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings in his second start since returning from of a low back strain.

“Just bizarre. So many soft hits, falling in front,” Hendricks said. “So just got to stick with the process, stick with down in the zone, stick with executing, and hopefully that's got to switch.”

Hendricks has allowed seven earned runs in three of his seven starts this season. Asked about the right-hander's spot in the rotation, manager Craig Counsell was non-committal.

“I think we got to look at the start a little closer and see what's going on. ... We've got to keep doing our best to help Kyle turn the corner,” Counsell said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: SS Dansby Swanson (right knee sprain) took batting practice against LHPs Drew Smyly (right hip impingement) and Jordan Wicks (forearm strain). ... RHP Colten Brewer (low back strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list, and RHP Porter Hodge was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. ... RHP Julian Merryweather (rib stress fracture) has “turned a corner a little bit,” Counsell said. The plan is for Merryweather to begin a throwing program on Monday. ... RHP Yency Almonte (shoulder strain) is doing a strengthening progression. Counsell said Almonte could begin throwing next week.

UP NEXT

Shota Imanaga (5-0, 0.96 ERA) pitches on Saturday for the Cubs, and fellow left-hander Bailey Falter (2-2, 4.15 ERA) starts for the Pirates. Imanaga struck out eight in five scoreless innings in a no-decision at Atlanta on Monday night. Falter is going for his first win since April 23.

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