Anthony Rizzo powers Cubs past Pirates, 7-3


Anthony Rizzo homered and hit two doubles for three RBIs to power the Chicago Cubs to a 7-3 win over the Pirates Tuesday night at PNC Park.

Reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen connected on the first official pitch of his at-bat by Travis Wood and sent it deep to center field to tie it 2-2. It was McCutchen’s second home run of the series and ninth this season.

Darwin Barney (1-4, 1 RBI) gave the Cubs (26-36) the 3-2 advantage in the fourth inning with a double to left field to drive in Rizzo and move Justin Ruggiano to third base. Luis Valbuena (2-2, 2 RBIs), who would enter the game as a pinch-hitter/defensive replacement for Mike Olt, hit a two-run double to center to break the 3-3 tie in the sixth for a two-run Cubs’ lead, 5-3.

Olt was pulled from the game after two-at bats, finishing the night 0-2 with two strikeouts which drops his average to .151 on the year. If he is unable to get out of this slump that he has been in over the last 20 or so at-bats, he could find himself back in the Minors and competing for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Wood (6-4, 4.95 ERA) allowed three earned runs on nine hits, striking out two and walking two over 6 2/3 innings.

Veteran pitcher Francisco Liriano (1-6, 4.60 ERA) exited the game after just three innings after experiencing a little bit of side discomfort. Liriano surrounded two earned runs off three hits, striking out three before Clint Hurdle turned to the bullpen.

Pittsburgh (30-34) received no help from relievers Jeanmar Gomez (0-2, 4.09 ERA) and Casey Sadler (0-1, 6.23 ERA),who combined for six hits and five earned runs across 3 2/3 innings.

The Cubs would continue to pad their lead when Starlin Castro drove in Anthony Rizzo on a RBI single to left field to make it 7-3 during the top of the seventh inning as the team finished tonight’s game 4-9 with runners in scoring position while the Pirates went 1-12.