Cubs hit three homers in comeback win over Buccos

by - Senior Writer -
The Cubs tallied 14 hits, including three home runs, as part of an impressive offensive showing. (Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
The Cubs tallied 14 hits, including three home runs, as part of an impressive offensive showing. (Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

PITTSBURGH — After being held scoreless through four innings, the Chicago Cubs came alive at the plate, outscoring the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-3 over the course of the final five innings to win at PNC Park for the second straight game. Using three home runs and 14 total hits, the North Siders took Pittsburgh's pitchers to task in the later innings to win by a final score of 8-6.

Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester has suffered from a lack of run support off and on this season, oftentimes ruining marvelous performances on his part. However, luck was on Lester's side tonight, as he gave up four runs on eight hits over the course of his six-inning stint but earned a winning decision, nonetheless.

Chicago had a decent chance to take the lead right off the bat, loading the bases in the top of the first. As part of a two-out rally, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was booed heavily because of his controversial slide from Monday's game, doubled to put runners on second and third. A few at-bats later, with the bases juiced, Ian Happ flied out to end the inning.

Happ's unfortunate start to the game carried over into the bottom half of the first, as he lost a ball in the sun, leading to a double for the Pirates' Austin Meadows. Thereafter, Starling Marte doubled and Josh Bell singled on back-to-back at-bats to drive in a pair of runs for the Buccos.

Later, in the third, Pittsburgh catcher Elias Diaz powered a solo shot to left. The home run assuredly felt like a form of retribution for the backstop, who caught the brunt of Rizzo's slide on Monday. In the fifth frame, Ben Zobrist, who batted leadoff for Chicago, drove a 374-foot homer into the bleachers beyond right field. The two-run blast marked Zobrist's third dinger of the year and cut the Pirates' lead to one run.

Meadows answered with a home run of his own in the bottom of the fifth to put the Pirates up 4-2. Lester made up for it, though, by driving in Jason Heyward, who doubled in the previous at-bat, during the sixth inning. Lester now has three RBI this season. Pittsburgh starter Nick Kingham was pulled soon afterward. He gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.2 frames pitched.

Pirates middle reliever Richard Rodriguez lost the game for the Bucs, getting taken for three runs in the seventh inning. Rizzo sparked the scoring for Chicago with his eighth home run of the year, a solo bomb to right. Rizzo has hit 25 home runs against the Pirates in his career, which is more than he has hit against any other team.

Following a single by catcher Willson Contreras, Happ provided the Cubs with their first lead of the night with a double to deep left-center that just missed being a home run. A few at-bats later, Happ scored on an RBI single from Heyward. Heyward went 3-5 at the dish for his first three-hit game of the season.

The Cubs took a commanding 8-4 lead in the eighth on a lined home run by Schwarber that ricocheted off the right-field foul pole. Scorched at 107.3 miles per hour, the two-run bomb sent a loud, gong-like sound reverberating through PNC Park. Schwarber's 10th long ball of the year, the round-tripper, which was nearly foul, made up for the near-miss homer hit by Schwarber yesterday that was robbed at the wall by Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson.

Cubs reliever Brian Duensing backed himself into a corner with a troublesome ninth inning, forcing Chicago closer Brandon Morrow to enter the game once a save opportunity arose. Although he allowed a two-run single by Marte in his first at-bat, Morrow collected two clutch outs to end the inning and finalize the 8-6 win for the Cubs. In the process, Morrow tallied his 12th save of the season.

Squeaking out a come-from-behind win over the Pirates (28-25) in an exciting contest that featured a combined 27 hits, the Cubs (28-22) won their third game in a row while handing the Buccos their fourth straight loss. Lester picked up the winning decision to move to 5-2, and Santana fell to 2-1 with the losing decision.

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