McCutchen sped into the gap and lowered into a slide to glove the ball and keep it from going through to the wall, sprang to his feet and fired a strike to Kang, the shortstop set up as the cutoff man in medium left-center.
Kang unleashed his own strike to catcher Francisco Cervelli, who was waiting for the ball as Russell arrived and slid into the tag, never even reaching the plate.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon came out to discuss the play with umpires, presumably about Cervelli's positioning in front of home plate, but the Cubs didn't challenge. Maddon doffed his cap to jeering Pirates fans as he exited the field.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.