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Morton, McCutchen lead Bucs past Cubs

Pittsburgh,  PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer and drove  in three,  Charlie Morton had seven strikeouts in seven innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates powered past the Chicago Cubs, 6-2, on Monday night to open a four-game series.

The Pirates have now beaten the Cubs three times this season with Morton (3-7) on the mound, though the right-hander finally earned his first decision in the games.

Working economically most of the night, Morton gave up just six hits and a run without walking a batter and threw 59 of his 82 pitches for strikes.

"I  pitched a  little differently, a little less to contact," said Morton, who gave  up five runs  in 12 innings in his first two starts against Chicago this season.

Ike  Davis also homered  and Starling Marte had three hits and two RBI for the Pirates.

Edwin Jackson (4-6) opposed Morton for the third time this season and went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.

Jared  Hughes gave  up a leadoff homer  to Starlin Castro in the ninth inning, but settled in to get the last three outs for Pittsburgh.

The  Pirates took  a 1-0 lead after  Pedro Alvarez hit a leadoff single in the second inning and scored on Marte's double down the left-field line.

McCutchen  went  the other  way with a  fastball for a  two-out homer to right field after Travis Snider reached on a ground-rule double in the third inning.

The  reigning NL MVP  then followed Snider's single in the fifth inning with a drive off the right-field wall for an RBI double and 4-0 Pittsburgh lead.

Morton  threw just seven  pitches in the first inning and was stingy early on. Only  one Cubs runner made  it past first before  Anthony Rizzo hit a two-out single  in the  sixth and  scored on  Castro's double  off the  wall in  right that trimmed Chicago's deficit to 4-1.

In  the bottom  of the sixth, Marte  was tagged out in a rundown between third base and home plate after the Cubs, correctly guessing a squeeze bunt or steal was on the way, pitched out to catch him.

Davis hit a leadoff homer in the eighth and Marte added an RBI double later in the frame to make it 6-1.

                                Game Notes

Pirates  second baseman Neil Walker was scratched from the game with abdominal pain and later had an appendectomy. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Josh  Harrison  filled in  at second  base and Snider  took Harrison's spot in right  field  ... Morton improved  to 3-1 with 24  strikeouts in his last four tarts since going winless (0-6) in his first nine outings this season ... The
teams  are  meeting for  the first  time since playing  six games against each other  in the  first weeks of the  season. The Pirates went 4-2 in those games ... The Cubs started a 10-game road trip.

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