Starling Marte forced extra innings by slamming his ninth home run of the season with two outs in the ninth inning, but an 11th inning sacrifice fly by the Chicago Cubs’ Dioner Navarro gave the Chicago Cubs a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and a 2-games-to-1 win in a three-game series at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
The winning run was scored off Pittsburgh reliever Bryan Morris (4-3; 2.75 ERA), and cost the Pirates a loss for the fourth time in six games, following their season-high nine-game winning-streak.
The game marked the return off the disabled list for Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett, who allowed just two runs (one earned) and three hits through five innings. Burnett struck out three batters and walked two.
The Cubs (38-48) scored twice in the third inning on a fielding error and on a sacrifice fly by Alfonso Soriano, his fifth RBI in two games. The Pirates (53-34) tied the contest on RBI doubles by Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata. Chicago took the lead in the seventh inning on a solo homer by Scott Hairston. Marte tied the game with a ninth-inning shot off Kevin Gregg.
The loss dropped the Pirates into a first-place tie with St. Louis atop the National League Central Division. On Monday, the Bucs will home a home series against the Oakland Athletics (52-37), who lead the American League West. In the series opener, Pittsburgh’s Jeff Locke (8-1; 2.12 ERA) is scheduled to face Oakland’s Bartolo Colon (11-3; 2.78 ERA).