Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Russell Martin had two hits, two runs scored
and the game-winning sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to help the Pittsburgh
Pirates top the Chicago Cubs, 7-6, in the opener of a three-game set at
Pittsburgh's led 6-4 through five, but the Cubs tacked on a run in both the
sixth and seventh innings to tie it. Pedro Strop (0-1) took the hill for
Chicago in the top of the eighth and walked a pair before giving way to James
Russell, who surrendered a walk to Pedro Alvarez to load the bags for Martin.
His sacrifice fly to right plated Starling Marte for the final margin.
"It was a fist fight off the mound for us most of the night. We executed
extremely well in the first inning on offense and kept building innings,"
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Tony Watson (2-0) took the win after yielding a run in the seventh, Mark
Melancon worked a perfect bottom of the eighth and Jason Grilli shut the
door in the ninth for his second save of the season.
Alvarez and Travis Ishikawa drove in two runs apiece for Pittsburgh, which
took 2-of-3 from Chicago to start the season. Marte scored three times and
stole two bags in the triumph.
Emilio Bonifacio and Starlin Castro had three hits apiece for the Cubs, with
the latter posting his first career multi-homer game. Castro drove in four of
Chicago's six runs.
Alvarez put Pittsburgh on the board in the top of the first with a two-run
double to the gap in right-center. It was the slugger's first two-bagger
of the season.
Alvarez came around to score on a Neil Walker single two batters later, and
Ishikawa plated a run with his sacrifice fly. The Bucs led 4-0 before starter
Charlie Morton took the hill.
Morton, who gave up five runs on eight hits. quickly lost the lead. The Cubs
got a run back in the second on Bonifacio's RBI single to center. Anthony
Rizzo and Luis Valbuena then singled in the third to put two on for Castro,
who belted a 1-2 offering over the wall in left to tie it.
"Had we laid down after the first inning, giving up four runs, I would have
been extremely disappointed," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
Pittsburgh went back in front a half inning later on Andrew McCutchen's RBI
single to center and padded the cushion on an Ishikawa RBI triple in the
Edwin Jackson was torched for six runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 frames.
Chicago fought back to briefly tie it. Castro made it 6-5 with his solo shot
in the sixth off Morton, and Rizzo singled home Bonifacio to knot it at 6-6 in
Pittsburgh hit just 4-of-13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men
on base ... Chicago pitchers walked seven batters ... Bonifacio has at least
two hits in 5-of-7 games this season and is hitting 14-for-21 against the
Pirates in four meetings.