"I'm from Florida, so I like hot weather," the Pittsburgh
Pirates' center fielder said with a smile.
McCutchen continued his torrid June by hitting a two-run home run
and reaching base in all four plate appearances, leading the Pirates
to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
The center fielder homered in the first inning to open the scoring.
It was his 10th homer of the season and sixth this month.
McCutchen also doubled and walked twice. In 10 games this month, he
is hitting .421 with 13 extra-base hits and 12 RBIs.
"When he gets his pitch, he's not missing," Pirates manager Clint
Hurdle said. "He's hitting the ball line to line. He is in command
of the at-bat. The pitches he can't hit, he's taking. He'll take the
walk and then go (attempt a stolen base) and put pressure on the
other team. He's in another gear."
McCutchen said the secret to his success is keeping his hitting
"A lot of times you go out and don't do so well and it's not
necessarily physical as much as it's mental," McCutchen said. "When
I'm having one of these times like now, I just keep thinking about
what I'm doing right and keep it right there."
Shortstop Jordy Mercer had three hits for Pittsburgh, including a
double, and left fielder Starling Marte added two hits.
Rookie right fielder Gregory Polanco had his first career RBI as his
groundout in the third inning scored Mercer and put the Pirates
ahead for good, 3-2. An inning later, third baseman Pedro Alvarez
tripled and scored on Marte's single.
Rookie right-hander Brandon Cumpton (2-2) won his second consecutive
start, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings. He struck out
five and walked two.
Cumpton preserved the 4-2 lead by striking out right fielder Nate
Schierholtz with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning.
"It was a good experience, a real confidence booster," Cumpton said.
Closer Jason Grilli pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 10th save
in 12 opportunities. Left-handers Justin Wilson and Tony Watson and
right-hander Mark Melancon worked one scoreless inning apiece.
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Cubs starter Jason Hammel (6-4) gave up four runs and 11 hits in
five innings, with two walks and six strikeouts. McCutchen's blast
ended the right-hander's streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings
and eight starts in a row without allowing a home run.
"Honestly, I thought I did a pretty good job for as many baserunners
as I had," Hammel said. "I was fortunate they only had four (runs)
across. It was definitely a battle. It was a grind."
Luis Valbuena had three of the Cubs' five hits as he has taken the
starting third baseman job away from Mike Olt in recent weeks.
"He's a guy who continues to give you very good at-bats, continues
to put the barrel at the ball," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
"He's been able to continue to kind of establish himself."
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed one hour and 38 minutes
because of a thunderstorm. ... Pirates 2B Josh Harrison left the
game in the bottom of the third inning because of right ankle
discomfort. ... The Pirates placed LHP Francisco Liriano on the
15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique, a day after he
was injured in the fourth inning of his start against the Cubs. RHP
Stolmy Pimentel was activated from the 15-day disabled list after
being out since May 2 with right shoulder inflammation. ... Chicago
2B Emilio Bonifacio and LF Junior Lake were not in the starting
lineup as manager Rich Renteria gave them a rest. Bonifacio entered
as a defensive replacement. ... Pittsburgh RHP Gerrit Cole threw off
flat ground from 90 feet before the game as he continues his rehab
from right shoulder fatigue. Cole, who is on the disabled list
retroactive to June 4, is scheduled to throw off a mound Friday. ...
The four-game series concludes Thursday night with Cubs RHP Jeff
Samardzija (2-5, 2.54 ERA) facing Pirates RHP Edinson Volquez (3-5,
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