The center fielder and 2013 National League MVP doubled, homered
and drove in three runs, and Charlie Morton allowed one run in seven
innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates downed the Chicago Cubs 6-2 on
The news wasn't all good, though, as Pirates second baseman Neil
Walker underwent an appendectomy during the game. Tied for the team
lead with 11 home runs, Walker could miss at least a month.
The Pirates will call up their top prospect, outfielder Gregory
Polanco, from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday. It is expected that
Polanco will become the regular right fielder while Josh Harrison
shifts to second base.
McCutchen has hit four of his seven home runs in his first eight
games of June. His two-run shot in the third inning gave the Pirates
a 3-0 lead, then he doubled in a run in the fifth.
Furthermore, he is having a big homestand. McCutchen is 7-for-15
with four extra-base hits through the first four games, including
three against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates have three games
left in the series with the Cubs, and McCutchen is hitting .563
(9-for-16) against them season.
"Getting myself in a position to hit," McCutchen said of his power
surge. "Made a little minor adjustment, now I'm seeing the ball a
little longer and being able to get the barrel to it. When I get the
barrel to it, good things happen. That's basically what I'm doing."
Morton (3-7) gave up six hits, did not walk a batter and struck out
seven. He is 3-1 with a 1.83 ERA in his last four starts after
losing his first six decisions, but was given an extra day of rest
between starts so he could work with pitching coach Ray Searage. He
is having better command of his trademark sinker.
"He had three major league pitches tonight," Pittsburgh manager
Clint Hurdle said of Morton, who also mixed in a curveball and
changeup. "He retired 17 guys on three pitches or less. The things
we had seen from him before, he nailed every one of them on his
to-do list tonight."
Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte and first baseman Ike Davis
both snapped 0-for-23 slumps. Marte went 3-for-4 with two RBI
doubles, the second of which made it 6-1 in the eighth and came two
batters after Davis hit his fifth homer.
"It's fun to watch him swing the bat with some athleticism," Hurdle
said of Marte. "We saw it before and though it might be a good game
for him to get moving in a better offensive direction."
Right fielder Travis Snider and third baseman Pedro Alvarez had two
hits each for the Pirates (30-33).
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Shortstop Starlin Castro had three hits for the Cubs (25-36) and
drove in both their runs with a seventh-inning double and a leadoff
home run in the ninth, his eighth of the season, off reliever Jared
"I'm feeling good right now," Castro said. "I feel strong. I know
(Cubs manager Rick Renteria) wants to give me a day off but I'm
feeling too good to sit on the bench right now."
Right-hander Edwin Jackson (4-6) allowed four runs and seven hits in
six innings in taking the loss. He struck out eight and walked two
but couldn't figure out how to get McCutchen out.
"He beat me on the same pitch twice," Jackson said, referring to his
fastball. "I have to make better adjustments than that."
The Cubs lost their second straight game following a five-game
winning streak. They also lost for 10th time in their 12 games at
PNC Park, scoring a total of 23 runs.
NOTES: Pittsburgh 1B Ike Davis was back in the starting lineup and
hitting cleanup a day after manager Clint Hurdle said 1B Gaby
Sanchez would start three games in a row. Hurdle said he changed his
mind because he thought the left-handed-hitting Davis gave his team
a better chance against Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson than the
right-handed-hitting Sanchez. ... Chicago OF Ryan Sweeney began a
rehab assignment at Class A Kane County and went 0-for-2 with a walk
against Cedar Rapids in a Midwest League game. He has been on the
disabled list since May 3 with a right hamstring strain. ... Cubs
LHP Travis Wood (5-5, 5.04 ERA) faces Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano
(1-6, 4.54 ERA) on Tuesday night.
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