Home cooking is quickly emerging as the theme for Ricky Renteria’s Chicago Cubs.
Shortstop Starlin Castro hit a three-run home run and Edwin Jackson was hit hard just once – a three-run shot in the fifth – in a solid start, as the Cubs topped the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 6-3 final Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Jackson (5-7, 5.12 ERA) only lasted five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks. He also struck out eight. The right-hander was followed by a combination of five relievers who tossed four innings of no-hit ball, allowing only a pair of walks in another outstanding performance by the Chicago bullpen.
Chicago (31-40) opened the scoring with a massive five-spot in the bottom of the third thanks to the red-hot duo of Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. With one out in the frame, Rizzo lined a double down the right field line, plating two to make it a 2-0 ballgame. The Cubs’ shortstop then followed with his 11th home run of the season, a three-run shot off Pittsburgh right-hander Charlie Morton (4-8, 3.47 ERA)
Morton, who had extensive success against the Cubs in the past, allowed six earned runs in six innings of work on eight hits and two walks, striking out six.
Pittsburgh (35-38) got its only offense in the fifth when Jordy Mercer hit a three-run shot to the seats in left field, cutting the Cubs’ lead to 5-3. However, Chicago outfielder Chris Coghlan smacked his second homer of the year in the bottom of the inning to get one run back, pushing the cushion back to three runs – which is where the score wound up in the end.
Hector Rondon came in and breezed through the ninth, earning his eighth save of the season.
With the win, Chicago improved to 16-14 at the Friendly Confines, as opposed to a disappointing 15-26 on the road.