Led by three doubles and two home runs, the Pittsburgh Pirates proved to be too much for Ricky Renteria’s Chicago Cubs to handle on Monday, cruising to a 6-2 win in the series-opening contest.
Reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen led the way with a 2-for-3 night that included a two-run home run and three RBIs, and Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez added a pair of hits and two RBIs, as well, on a night when Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (4-6) struggled at times.
The right-hander allowed four earned runs in six innings on seven hits, while striking out eight and walking two. Fellow Cubs hurler Carlos Villanueva entered in the seventh, pitching two innings, allowing two earned on three hits.
Pittsburgh (30-33) added insurance runs against Villanueva in the eighth inning. Ike Davis hit a solo home run, his fifth of the season, to extend the Pirates lead to 5-1, before an RBI double by Starling Marte made it a 6-1 lead heading to the ninth.
Chicago (25-36) added a lone run in the ninth, when shortstop Starlin Castro hit his eighth home run of the season, capping a three-hit night. Castro has 31 RBIs this season; last year, in 161 games, he managed just 44.
The Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, and Pittsburgh fared almost as poorly, going just 2-for-11 on the night.