Baseball / Sports

McCutchen homers again in Pirates' win over Cubs

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen had to wait a little longer to resume his assault on opposing pitching. A virtual monsoon encircled PNC Park, delaying Wednesday's game for 1 hour, 38 minutes. Lightning flashed in every direction; the PNC Park audio crew obliged, blaring Pearl Jam's "Lightning Bolt."

McCutchen provided his own brand of thunder in the Pirates' 4-2 win against the Chicago Cubs. He homered for the third consecutive game and extended his hitting streak to seven games. He now has 13 extra-base hits, six of them homers, in 10 games this month, and he has four consecutive multi-hit games.

Brandon Cumpton completed five innings and allowed two runs in his second solid start in a row after the 11-run, 3 2/3-inning disaster in Los Angeles. He allowed three runs in 51/3 innings against the Brewers during his most recent start.

Cumpton allowed baserunners in every inning except the fourth, but bailed out his infielders in his fifth and final inning. Justin Ruggiano reached second with one out when third basemen Pedro Alvarez threw the ball into the seats. Cumpton walked Anthony Rizzo but got Starling Castro to line out.

Luis Valbuena lined a ball off first baseman Ike Davis' glove, which was ruled a single, and the bases were loaded. But Cumpton struck out Nate Schierholtz on three pitches, the final one a slider in the dirt, to strand the runners.

Lefties Tony Watson and Justin Wilson produced scoreless innings with one strikeout in the sixth and seventh. Mark Melancon sliced through three left-handers on eight pitches in the eighth and Jason Grilli recorded his 10th save.

The Pirates' offense produced 11 hits against Cubs starter Jason Hammel. They left their fair share of those runners on base but scored four runs against him.

Hammel walked Josh Harrison on four pitches in the bottom of the first. Two batters later, McCutchen hit a 1-0 fastball high in the air down the left-field line. The ball deflected off the outstretched glove of Chris Coghlan, who jumped and reached over the wall, and caromed into the stands for McCutchen's 10th homer of the season.

Harrison would leave the game in the third inning because of pain in his left ankle, apparently suffered when he reversed course and tagged up on Gregory Polanco's lineout prior to McCutchen's homer. Clint Barmes pinch-hit for him and played second base.

Cumpton let the first three batters of the second inning find their way on base. Valbuena singled, Schierholtz walked and John Baker singled to score a run. Darwin Barney's grounder scored Schierholtz, tying the game.

Jordy Mercer hit a one-out double to the warning track in the second inning and Cumpton poked his first career hit to right field. Hammel hit Harrison to load the bases for Polanco, who recorded his first major league RBI with a grounder to first.

This time, Hammel intentionally walked McCutchen with a base open, despite the fact that he lost the platoon advantage against the left-handed Davis with the bases loaded, but Davis struck out to end the inning.

Alvarez hit his first triple of the season with one out in the third and scored on Starling Marte's single.

Polanco got his second hit in his first two career games with a leadoff single in the fourth, but some bad luck kept him from scoring. McCutchen's double to left bounced over the wall, meaning Polanco, who would have scored easily, had to stop at third. Ike Davis hit a hard liner to second base, but right at Barney, and the Cubs doubled Polanco off third.

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