CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs starter Sean Marshall didn't officially get the win Monday night.
"It was a win in my book," the rookie said after the Cubs' 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. "I don't get credit for a win but we played a great game."
Matt Murton's RBI single in the eighth inning broke a 1-1 tie.
The 6-foot-7 Marshall, trying to start 3-0, gave up one run and four hits in 7 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season. He struck out five, walked one and threw 91 pitches.
"We wanted him to get that victory, but we needed it badly," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He didn't get it, but he gave it to us."
With the score tied 1-1, John Grabow (0-1) issued a two-out walk to Todd Walker. Salomon Torres replaced him and gave up an infield single to Aramis Ramirez. Murton then singled up the middle past a diving Jack Wilson at shortstop to score Jerry Hairston Jr., who was running for Walker, from second.
Murton has been one of the Cubs' best hitters in key situations in his first full season in the majors. He's hitting .417 (10-for-24) with 16 RBI with runners in scoring position.
"I think any time you have success in any one situation, you certainly gain confidence," Murton said. "A big thing is to have teammates around you to get on base and allow you to do that."
The Pirates dropped to 1-13 on the road and 7-20 overall. They had four hits, just one in the first six innings.
"They got a hit when they needed it and we did very little offensively for the majority of the night," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said.
Marshall used his curveball and changeup to repeatedly force the Pirates hitters into quick outs. He gave up just one hit and no walks in his first six innings, throwing 57 pitches in that span. He gave up the tying run in the seventh to end a 16-inning scoreless streak.
"I threw a lot of first-pitch strikes today and that helped me to expand what I threw next," Marshall said. "I had a really good changeup tonight. I could throw it in any count and I got a bunch of quick outs."
Marshall walked Ronny Paulino and Jose Castillo before striking out pinch-hitter Chris Duffy in the eighth, then left to a standing ovation.
"There's a big turnaround in baseball, guys come, guys go, guys get hurt. And I'm just going to have the best time up here that I can and hopefully it will last a long, long time," said the 23-year-old Marshall, who made the team out of spring training despite only 10 career starts at Double-A and none at Triple-A.
Bob Howry (2-0), the second of three Chicago pitchers, worked 2/3 of an inning for the win. Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth for his seventh save in as many chances. He extended his club record to 26 in a row, dating to last season.
"When you see a guy go out and pitch a game like that, the last thing you want to do is come in and give up his runs and turn it into a bad outing," Howry said.
Wilson and Jason Bay hit consecutive singles to lead off the seventh for the Pirates. Wilson moved to third by avoiding third baseman Ramirez's tag on a grounder by Craig Wilson. Ramirez swiped his glove at Jack Wilson and threw out Bay at second. After arguments from Ramirez and Baker that Wilson was out of the baseline, Wilson then scored on a groundout from Joe Randa to tie the game at 1-1.
"I thought he was way out of the baseline," Baker said.
Juan Pierre led off the Cubs' first with a single, stole second and scored when Pirates starter Victor Santos committed a throwing error on Ronny Cedeno's bunt.
Santos gave up five hits and one unearned run in seven innings. He struck out six, walked one and hit a batter. Santos had lost three consecutive decisions.
"Victor Santos pitched a terrific game," Tracy said. "He pitched inside very effectively and it made his other pitches that much better."
Before the game the Cubs recalled LHP Rich Hill from Triple-A Iowa to take Glendon Rusch's spot in the starting rotation. Rusch is 1-4 with an 8.46 ERA in five starts and will move to the bullpen. ... The Cubs sent RHP David Aardsma to Triple-A Iowa. The reliever was 1-0 with a 10.50 ERA in four appearances. ... Cedeno was thrown out stealing second in the first inning, after getting picked off first Sunday. ... Santos went six innings in a 4-0 loss to St. Louis on April 19. ... Frank Castillo, in 1991, was the last Cubs rookie starter to start 3-0. Castillo lost his next start.