Chicago withstood three homers in a span of four batters in the sixth inning -- by Nate McLouth, Craig Wilson and Jason Bay -- to win its eighth in a row in Pittsburgh. The Cubs have won 12 of 13 there since May 30, 2004, and have won 21 of their last 27 against the Pirates.
"It got scary there for a while," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.
The Pirates dropped their ninth in 12 games under new manager Jim Tracy, as poor starting pitching again put them in a big hole. Victor Santos (1-2) gave up six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
No Pirates starter has pitched into the seventh in 12 games, and only one, Santos, has a victory. Pirates starters have been pulled by the fifth inning seven times and have worked into the sixth only five times.
"You're down 8-2, that's a long way to come back," Tracy said. "The starting pitching is the thing that is holding us up. We have to settle that matter."
Murton doubled and scored on rookie pitcher Sean Marshall's first career hit, a single, to put the Cubs up 2-0 in the second. After four of the Cubs' first five batters in the fifth singled off Santos, Murton tripled to the exact spot where he doubled in the second -- hitting a pole that divides the out-of-town scoreboard from the right-field stands. Murton has seven hits in four games
"It's great the way he's producing," Michael Barrett said.
Murton's triple made it 6-2 in the four-run fifth and chased Santos. Reliever Ryan Vogelsong followed with his second rough outing in as many days, allowing his first four batters to reach base as the Cubs added two more runs in the sixth on Todd Walker's RBI single and a double-play grounder.
Vogelsong, whose ERA is 10.57, allowed his final five batters to reach base in the Pirates' 13-5 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday.
The 6-foot-6 Marshall (1-0), getting his first major league victory in his second career start, pitched better than he did in giving up four runs in 4 1/3 innings Sunday against the Cardinals, even if it didn't appear so on his pitching line. He gave up five hits and four runs in five-plus innings.
"I got the win, got a hit, that's pretty good outing," Marshall said. "That was a lot of fun."
Marshall left after McLouth homered and Jack Wilson singled in the sixth. Michael Wuertz came on and allowed Craig Wilson and Bay to homer in succession, making it 8-6. Craig Wilson, who entered when first baseman Sean Casey reinjured his ribs in the third inning, hit his fifth of the season and fourth in four games.
"I don't think we're pressing," Craig Wilson said, referring to how the Pirates repeatedly keep falling behind early. "Maybe we need to go out and relax more and do what we do best."
"They swing the bats well and got some momentum going, but we were able to get it back," Walker said. "I think that's a tribute to Scott Williamson coming in there and getting the momentum back on our side."
There have been 21 homers in the first five games at PNC Park, which yielded only 140 homers all last season. But while the Pirates have hit 11 homers, they have allowed 43 runs. And their opponents have at least 11 hits in every game.
"The ball is flying out of this ballpark, and ordinarily it doesn't," Baker said. "It's strange for here."
- Walker's four-hit game was the 15th of his career.
- Derrek Lee singled twice, giving him 41 hits against Pittsburgh the last three seasons.
- Casey went to a hospital for tests after being reinjured while fielding a throw at first base. He missed three consecutive starts with sore ribs earlier in the week.
- Cubs RHP Greg Maddux turned 40 Friday.
- Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez returned after missing two starts with a strained muscle.
- Craig Wilson is 4-for-5 with two homers against Wuertz.