Brandon Cumpton pitched a two-hit shutout through seven innings on Sunday afternoon, and the Pittsburgh Pirates (37-38) edged the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in the rubber game of a three-game series at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Cumpton (3-2) struck out four batters and walked two. Tony Watson worked himself out of a jam in the eighth inning, and Mark Melancon, newly designated as the Bucs’ closer by manager Clint Hurdle, allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth inning but emerged anyway with his 12th save in 15 opportunities.
Travis Snider slammed a solo home run for Pittsburgh, and Josh Harrison drove home a run. Snider and Ike Davis both recorded two of the Pirates’ six hits. The Bucs beat Cubs starter Jason Hammel (6-5) for the second straight time. Nate Schierholtz drove home the only run managed by Chicago (31-42).
Pirates rookie Gregory Polanco (0-3) had an 11-game hitting streak snapped after starting his Major League job by setting a team record for most consecutive games with a hit to begin his career.
On Saturday night, Harrison and Jordy Mercer both homered in a 5-3 win by the Pirates. Both players tallied two hits, and Harrison drove in three runs. Anthony Rizzo homered for the Cubs.
Vance Worley (1-0), making his second start for Pittsburgh, worked 6-and-two-thirds innings to earn the win. Worley allowed three runs and five hits, striking out four hitters and walking only one. Melancon earned the save.
The Cubs used five runs in the third inning to post a 6-3 win over the Pirates in the opening game of the series on Friday afternoon.
Starlin Castro hit a three-run homer, and Chris Coghlan added a solo shot as Chicago scored six runs in six innings off Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton (4-8). Morton, who had won four of his previous five starts following an 0-6 start, surrendered eight hits, fanned six batters and walked two. Rizzo drove in the other two Chicago runs.
The Pirates managed seven hits off Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (5-7) and five relief pitchers. Mercer homered, and Davis went 2-for-4. Chicago’s Hector Rondon worked the ninth inning for his eighth save in ten opportunities.
On Monday night, the Pirates will begin a three-game interleague series in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays (31-46). Pittsburgh will start Edinson Volquez (4-6; 4.67 ERA) against the Rays’ Alex Cobb (2-5; 3.48 ERA).