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Soto led off the third by homering for the second time in three games and 11th time this season. With nobody on and two outs in the fourth, Pena took the first pitch from McDonald into the shrubbery beyond the wall in straightaway center.
Byrd followed with a single -- his 1,000th career hit -- and he scored when DeWitt hit a towering shot to right, his third.
"It's been a tough year," Pena said, "but we're starting to play better now. We're swinging the bats well and giving our pitchers some confidence because it's easier for them when they have a big lead."
Cubs starter Rodrigo Lopez had been given a 5-0 lead in his most recent outing Saturday in St. Louis -- but he wasn't able to get out of the fifth inning and ended up taking the loss. A similar situation appeared to be playing out Thursday, as Lopez was lifted after Pittsburgh's fourth-inning outburst erased a four-run Cubs lead.
The Pirates hadn't scored more than six runs in a nine-inning game since July 10 -- but they got that many on six hits in the fourth, highlighted by McDonald's liner into the left-center field gap that cleared the bases and gave Pittsburgh its first lead. Andrew McCutchen followed with a double, scoring McDonald.
Earlier in the inning, Ryan Ludwick's first hit in 10 at-bats with Pittsburgh drove in the Pirates' first run. Ludwick later scored on a fielder's choice by Xavier Paul.
"It's how you rebound after a streak like this," Beimel said. "We're very capable of going on a streak where we win 10, 11 in a row. We've just still got to believe that, and hopefully pull it together."
NOTES: Andrew McCutchen has reached safely in each of his past 28 games against Chicago and 31 of his past 32 home games overall. ... Pittsburgh RHP Chris Leroux (left calf) began a rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Ludwick is 11 for 30 (.367) in his career against San Diego's Aaron Harang, whom Pittsburgh will face to begin a three-game weekend series on Friday. Ludwick is a .301 hitter lifetime against the Padres, who traded him to the Pirates on Sunday. ... Friday Cubs starter Ryan Dempster has won three of his past five starts but has lost his past two decisions against Cincinnati.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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