Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning against Pirates reliever Jason Grilli on Friday night, giving Chicago a 5-4 win at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and snapping the Bucs’ four-game losing streak.
The loss dropped the Pirates one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who took over sole possession of first place in the National League Central Division with a 2-1, 10-inning home interleague victory over Seattle.
After falling behind 3-0, the Pirates had tied the game on consecutive fourth-inning homers by National League home run leader Pedro Alvarez (33), Russell Martin and Garrett Jones. The Alvarez homer was an inside-the-park blast.
The Bucs took a 4-3 advantage in the sixth frame when Andrew McCutchen doubled and scored on an error.
Both teams finished with nine hits. Brian Bogusevic led the Cubs (63-84) with three hits, including a homer. McCutchen, now batting .328, posted two hits for Pittsburgh (85-62), as did Alvarez and Jose Tabata.
Grilli (0-2; 2.98 ERA) took the loss in his fourth relief appearance since the end of his month-long stint on the injured list. The winning pitcher was Cubs reliever Carlos Villanueva (6-8; 4.22 ERA).
On Saturday night, in the third game of the four-game series, Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (7-7; 3.48 ERA) will face Chicago newcomer Scott Baker (0-0; 0.00 ERA).