(AP) — José Quintana, Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs put on quite a show.
The grinning Little Leaguers soaked in every moment.
Quintana pitched seven crisp innings, Rizzo hit a two-run homer and the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1 on Sunday night in the MLB Little League Classic.
Surrounded by smiling Little Leaguers wearing their uniforms in the stands at BB&T Ballpark, Quintana (11-7) allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked none. The left-hander improved to 7-0 in nine starts since his last loss June 22.
“His stuff’s the same, but it’s being utilized more regular, one curveball, one changeup. His command was spectacular,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ”(His) confidence could not be higher. He’s been magnificent.”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said it was the best he had ever seen from Quintana.
“Some really good stuff from him tonight,” he said. “Unfortunate for us.”
Nicholas Castellanos and Jason Heyward also connected as Chicago earned its second straight win since consecutive heartbreaking losses to the Phillies and Pirates.
The Cubs took two of three in the unusual weekend set and remain in a virtual tie with St. Louis for the top spot in the NL Central. It was the first road series win for Chicago since May 17-19 against Washington.