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Cubs 7, Pirates 5

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[April 10, 2014]  By Jack McCarthy

CHICAGO (The Sports Xchange) First baseman Anthony Rizzo went 4-for-5 with two runs scored while right hander Jason Hammel gave up three hits  all home runs  in his Wrigley Field debut as the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Wednesday.

Third baseman Mike Olt was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, center fielder Emilio Bonifacio went 2-for-5 with two runs scored while catcher Welington Castillo also had two hits as the Cubs snapped the Pirates' two-game winning streak.

Hammel (2-0) was a winner in his Wrigley Field debut while Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (0-2) took the loss.

Rodriquez was lifted for a pinch hitter after working five innings while allowing four earned runs on nine hits, walked three and struck out six. Two hits were home runs. Hammel worked seven full innings and struck out six while walking just one.

The Cubs led 4-1 entering the sixth when Bonifacio doubled to lead off against right-handed reliever Jeanmar Gomez and advanced to third on Starlin Castro's ground out to short.

After Gomez walked right fielder Justin Ruggiano, first baseman Anthony Rizzo doubled to the left field wall to bring home Bonifacio for a 5-1 lead. Olt made it 6-1 with a one-out RBI single that scored Ruggiano.

Replay officials in New York then reversed part of a Pirates double play in the sixth, ruling that left fielder Junior Lake beat out a throw to first with two out and allowed RIzzo to score for a 7-1 lead.

Pirates right fielder Travis Snider clubbed his first homer of the season to open the seventh. That cut the Cubs lead to 7-2 and catcher Russell Martin followed a two-out solo homer later in the inning to make it 7-3.

Third baseman Pedro Alvarez and Martin each hit solo home runs in the top of the ninth off right-handed reliever Pedro Strop to cut the Cubs lead to 7-5.

Bonifacio, baseball's most productive hitter with a .515 average, led off the first with a single to right and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead when he scored on Ruggiano's one-out double to left.

The Cubs threatened again in the fourth when Hammel's sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with two out for Bonifacio, who struck out swinging to end the inning.

Hammel, making his second Cubs start and first ever at Wrigley Field, retired the first 12 batters he faced.

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Alvarez tied the score at 1 with a solo homer in the fifth, sending Hammel's 1-2 pitch into the left-field bleachers

But the Cubs replied with three runs on two homers off Rodriguez in the bottom of the fifth. Olt's first pitch, two-out homer into the left-field basket scored Rizzo and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Left fielder Junior Lake followed with his first of the year, also to left, to make it 4-1. It was the first time this season the Cubs had back-to-back homers.

NOTES: A victory on Wednesday or Thursday would give the Pirates three straight winning series for the first time since 1992 when they captured six series in a row. ... Pirates LF Starling Marte came into Wednesday with hits in each of his last nine games played in Chicago, going 26-for-72 with three doubles, three triples, three home runs and nine RBI in 17 games. ... RHP Mark Melancon entered Wednesday with the longest current streak of innings pitch without allowing a home run (67 innings) among all Major League pitchers. ... Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (1-0, 2.57 ERA) makes his second start of the season on Thursday against Cubs LHP Travis Wood (0-1, 4.26 ERA). ... Cubs 2B Emilio Bonifacio is the first Major Leaguer in the modern era (since 1900) with one hit, two hits, three hits, four hits and five hits all in his first seven games. His 17 hits are also the most by any Cub in the first seven games in the last 100 years. ... RHP Hector Rondon has a 13-inning scoreless streak through 12 appearances dating to Sept. 3, 2013, the fourth longest current run in the Major Leagues. ... Each of the Cubs' first four games against the Pirates had been decided by one run. ... The series concludes Thursday before the Cubs then travel to St. Louis for a three-game series starting Friday and the Pirates open a three-game set in Milwaukee.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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