Paul Skenes dazzles in his first MLB win as the Pirates defeat the Cubs

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes admitted to some nerves when he made his MLB debut last Saturday, as he lasted just four innings and left with a no-decision in a game against the Chicago Cubs.

Facing the Cubs again on Friday was a much different story.

Skenes was nothing short of dominant against Chicago, striking out the first seven batters he faced en route to the first win of his MLB career, as the Pirates defeated the Cubs by a final score of 9-3. Skenes struck out the side in the first inning, as well as the second, and opened the third inning with another strikeout before a ball was finally put into play, when Pete Crow-Armstrong grounded out to first.

Over those first seven strikeouts, Skenes hit triple digits on the radar gun nine times, including hitting 101 on a fastball to Miles Mastrobuoni to end the third inning:

Skenes pitched into the sixth inning, which he closed out with with his 11th strikeout, on his 100th pitch.

It too topped triple digits:

It was his 12th pitch of the afternoon to hit at least 100 mph.

Skenes became the third rookie with seven strikeouts to start a game, joining Jacob deGrom and Jim Deshaies to accomplish that feat. He also became the first rookie with an outing of at least six no-hit innings, along with 10-plus strikeouts, since Chris Heston threw a no-hitter for San Francisco against the New York Mets on June 9, 2015.

The Pirates have been keeping the former first-overall selection on a strict pitch count, so he was lifted after six innings without allowing a hit, and having given up just a single base runner, a fifth-inning walk to Michael Busch on a full-count.

While some might argue that manager Derek Shelton should have left Skenes in to start the seventh, with the Pirates leading 8-0 and Skenes already at 100 pitches on the afternoon, the manager made the — probably correct — decision to pull Skenes.

Because if this is what Skenes is going to do in just his second MLB start, the Pirates are going to want to make sure he is healthy as humanly possible, for as long as possible.

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