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Chicago at Pittsburgh

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Chi. Cubs (54-86) «0002000204121
Pittsburgh (72-67)100000100271

Pirates fading, swept by Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- One of the few bright spots in an otherwise lost season, Alfonso Soriano helped punctuate a bounce-back weekend from one of the Chicago Cubs' lowest points.

Soriano hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Cubs the go-ahead runs and Chicago completed a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 4-2 win on Sunday.

The Cubs arrived in Pittsburgh on a six-game losing streak and having been outscored 31-10 in getting swept by the Nationals.

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"You have to give these guys a lot of credit after what happened in Washington to come in here and do what they did against a really good team," Chicago manager Dale Sveum said.

Soriano followed Anthony Rizzo's leadoff single in the eighth with his second homer in as many days and 28th of the season, sending the first pitch from Jason Grilli (1-6) into the Cubs' bullpen in left-center.

Josh Vitters and Anthony Recker each hit solo home runs for the Cubs in the fourth. Recker's homer was the first of his career.

"Hopefully more to come, too," Recker said. "We'll see. I was just glad to get the win. Obviously, to contribute offensively was good, too."

Chicago is 6-20 on the road since the All-Star break, with five of those wins coming at PNC Park. The Cubs had lost eight consecutive road games before this series.

Andrew McCutchen homered and Brock Holt had three hits for the Pirates, who have lost seven of nine and continue their freefall out of contention.

Pittsburgh (72-67) peaked at 16 games over .500 this season but now needs to go 9-14 just to avoid extending their North American major professional sports record of consecutive losing seasons to 20.

"We need to play better -- that's it," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I'm not going to get up here and point fingers or this and that or say this ... I'm telling you how I feel -- we've got to play batter. And that's it. And they know that."

Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but Cubs closer Carlos Marmol struck out Gaby Sanchez and got Pedro Alvarez to fly out to left to earn his 18th save.

Joe Mather went 3 for 5 for the Cubs (54-86), who have the majors' second-worst record.

Chicago's road sweep was its first since Aug. 1-4, 2010, in Pittsburgh. The Pirates were swept in three games at home for the first time this season.

Soriano had six RBIs in the series. His 94 on the season are the most since he put up 95 during his only season with the Washington Nationals in 2006.

"I'm feeling good at the plate," Soriano said. "That last at bat I just was concentrating and just said to myself, 'Look for a strike,' and he threw me a fastball and I put a good swing on it."

A pair of rookie left-handers started and pitched well but came away with no-decisions.

Making the third start of his career, Chicago's Chris Rusin allowed one run on five hits with four strikeouts in five innings. He left the game in line for his first major league victory, but the Pirates tied it in the seventh when Holt scored on a balk by James Russell (7-1).

Rusin allowed five runs on eight hits in one-plus inning during his previous outing.

"It was so bad last week that anything would have been better this week," Rusin said. "Today I was just able to throw strikes with all my pitches, and I kept the ball down."

Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke gave up the homers to Vitters and Recker in the fourth but overall scattered seven hits over six innings.

The Pirates left 13 men on base - at least one during each of the first seven innings. They stranded two four times, including when Dave Sappelt caught Garrett Jones' sinking liner to right to end the fifth.

"It's a game of inches, and off the bat I thought for sure it was falling but Sappelt got a good jump on it and made a good play," Jones said.

"We had some opportunities; we just didn't execute."

McCutchen's homer, his 25th, was his NL-leading 173rd hit. It ended a streak of five consecutive homerless games for the Pirates -- their longest of the season.

Grilli earned the loss in relief for the second straight night.

Notes

  • Pittsburgh is 9-20 since Aug. 8.
  • The Pirates activated RHP Chad Qualls from the disabled list before the game. He retired both batters he faced in the eighth.
  • Locke singled in the fifth, his first hit in the majors.
  • The Pirates will play three games at the Reds starting Monday. The previous time Pittsburgh played in Cincinnati Aug 3-5, it entered trailing by 3 1/2 games in the NL Central. Five weeks later, the Pirates are in third place and 11 back.
  • The Cubs head to Houston, where they will play their final series there against the Astros with both teams part of the National League. The Astros move to the AL West next season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Alfonso Soriano hits a two-run homer, his 28th of the season, to help the Cubs to a sweep of the reeling Pirates.  (AP)
Alfonso Soriano hits a two-run homer, his 28th of the season, to help the Cubs to a sweep of the reeling Pirates. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

A. Soriano
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Pittsburgh

B. Holt
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Joe Mather, CF-LF5030021 .210
Darwin Barney, 2B5010002 .255
Anthony Rizzo, 1B5120013 .300
Alfonso Soriano, LF4112023 .260
    Tony Campana, CF0000100 .263
Starlin Castro, SS5010012 .280
Josh Vitters, 3B4111011 .085
    Shawn Camp, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
Dave Sappelt, RF3010001 .100
   a- David DeJesus, PH-RF0000100 .264
Anthony Recker, C4111013 .139
Chris Rusin, P2000010 .250
    Jaye Chapman, P0000000 .000
   b- Bryan LaHair, PH1010000 .256
    Manny Corpas, P0000000 .000
    James Russell, P0000000 .000
   c- Luis Valbuena, PH-3B1000012 .222
Totals394124210  
a-walked for Sappelt in the 8th
b-singled for Chapman in the 7th
c-struck out for Russell in the 8th
Batting
2B - Starlin Castro (23, Grilli)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (28, Grilli), Josh Vitters (2, Locke), Anthony Recker (1, Locke)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano 2 (94), Josh Vitters (5), Anthony Recker (1)
2-OUT RBI - Anthony Recker (1)
SB - Joe Mather (4, 3rd base off Locke/McKenry)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Barney-Castro-Rizzo
E - Anthony Rizzo (4, Missed catch of throw)
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Rusin 5511341 5.73
Jaye Chapman (H,1) 1000110 0.00
Manny Corpas (H,6) 0.1111100 4.46
James Russell (BS,3; W,7-1) 0.2000100 3.50
Shawn Camp (H,14) 1000020 3.67
Carlos Marmol (S,18) 1100210 3.97
IBB - A. McCutchen by Manny Corpas, G. Sanchez by James Russell
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Rusin 83-52, Jaye Chapman 17-11, Manny Corpas 9-4, James Russell 15-8, Shawn Camp 13-8, Carlos Marmol 23-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Rusin 5-5, Jaye Chapman 2-1, Manny Corpas 1-0, James Russell 1-1
Batters Faced - Chris Rusin 22, Jaye Chapman 5, Manny Corpas 3, James Russell 3, Shawn Camp 3, Carlos Marmol 6
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brock Holt, 2B5130001 .414
Starling Marte, LF4000113 .231
Andrew McCutchen, CF3111204 .341
Garrett Jones, RF4010104 .286
Gaby Sanchez, 1B3000223 .220
Pedro Alvarez, 3B5010017 .248
Michael McKenry, C4000022 .255
Clint Barmes, SS1000101 .220
   a- Jeff Clement, PH0000100 .100
    Jordy Mercer, SS1000000 .196
Jeff Locke, P2010011 .333
   b- Josh Harrison, PH1000002 .237
    Kyle McPherson, P0000000 .000
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   c- Alex Presley, PH1000010 .233
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
Totals3427188  
a-walked for Barmes in the 6th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Locke in the 6th
c-struck out for Qualls in the 8th
Batting
3B - Brock Holt (1, Corpas)
HR - Andrew McCutchen (25, Rusin)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen (84)
2-OUT RBI - Andrew McCutchen (30)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
DP - Barmes-G. Sanchez
E - Brock Holt (3, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeff Locke 6722062 4.11
Kyle McPherson 1100010 1.04
Jason Grilli (L,1-6) 0.1322111 2.92
Chad Qualls 0.2000010 5.17
Joel Hanrahan 1100110 2.39
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Locke 89-60, Kyle McPherson 14-10, Jason Grilli 12-7, Chad Qualls 7-4, Joel Hanrahan 20-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Locke 7-5, Kyle McPherson 2-0, Joel Hanrahan 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Locke 25, Kyle McPherson 4, Jason Grilli 5, Chad Qualls 2, Joel Hanrahan 5
Game Information
Attendance - 28671
Game Time - 3:24
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Jordan Baker, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Scott Barry