Cody Ransom slammed a three-run, seventh inning home run over Pittsburgh reliever Justin Wilson (5-1; 1.98 ERA) on Sunday, lifting the Chicago Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the Pirates at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Wilson had relieved Pirates starter Jeff Locke in the sixth inning, following Locke’s 100th pitch of the ballgame. The pitch had resulted in the Cubs’ first hit of the game, ending a 5-and-two-thirds innings, no-hit string by Locke, during a period in which Locke had walked seven Cubs batters. Prior to the Ransom homer, the only runs scored in the game had come off an RBI single by the Bucs’ Garrett Cole and a sacrifice fly by the Cubs’ Scott Hairston.
Both teams recorded six hits, including two apiece by Jones and teammate Andrew McCutchen, and by Chicago’s Dioner Navarro. Pirates batters were stymied by Edwin Jackson (2-8; 5.26 ERA), who worked seven innings to earn the save. Kevin Gregg recorded his seventh save.
The Pirates had posted a 6-2 victory over the Cubs in a Saturday afternoon game at Wrigley in a near complete-game shutout for starter A.J. Burnett (4-6; 3.12 ERA). Burnett lasted 8-and-two-thirds innings before allowing a two-run home run to the Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano with one out in the ninth frame. He surrendered two runs and four hits, struck out five batters and walked three. Pittsburgh’s Tony Watson was responsible for the final two outs of the game.
Pittsburgh pitchers still have recorded no complete games, but they lead the Major Leagues with 10 shutouts — all combined pitching efforts.
Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin both slammed two run homers for the Pirates on Saturday, while Alvarez and Travis Snider both recorded RBI singles. The Cubs tallied only four hits. Chicago starter Jeff Samardzjia (3-7; 3.18 ERA) took the loss, allowing four runs and eight hits over six innings, while striking out seven hitters and walking one.
Meanwhile, the Pirates have announced that right-hander Gerrit Cole will make his Major League debut when the Bucs host the San Francisco Giants in the first-game of a three-game series on Tuesday night. The overall number-one selection in the 2011 draft, the 22 year-old Cole is 5-3 with a 2.91 earned run average in 12 starts with the Pirates’ “AAA” affiliate in Indianapolis. He struck out 47 batters and walked 28 in 68 innings of work, and has not been scored upon in the last 14 innings.