PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones homered, Erik Bedard pitched six shutout innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Chicago 10-4 Sunday and sent the Cubs to their 12th consecutive defeat.
Alvarez hit a three-run homer in the first – Pittsburgh’s first this season with more than one man on – McCutchen added a solo shot in the fifth and Jones went deep to right with Neil Walker on in the fifth.
Pittsburgh completed its first three-game sweep at PNC Park since Sept. 17-19, 2010.
Although the Cubs are in their longest losing streak since starting the 1997 season 0-14, few of the previous 11 were like this. Six were by one run, including the first two games of this series.
Starlin Castro homered during a three-run eighth to save some face for Chicago, which had scored during two of the previous 33 innings.
The lowest-scoring team in baseball, the Pirates set a season high for runs and matched a season high by winning their third consecutive game.
Alvarez homered for the first time in 24 days in the first inning, taking a 3-1 pitch from Matt Garza (2-3) deep up into the elevated seats in right-center.
McCutchen re-tied Alvarez for the team lead with his eighth home run, in the fifth inning.
Jones snapped an 0 for 11 stretch when he pulled Garza’s final pitch deep into the right-field seats.
That was only the beginning for the Pirates in their six-run sixth. Demoted from the closer’s role after losing Saturday night’s game when he hit Matt Hague with a pitch with the bases loaded, Rafael Dolis came in and walked both batters he faced.
After Bedard sacrificed, pinch-hitter Gorkys Hernandez lined a single to center off of Michael Bowden for his first hit and first two RBIs in the majors.
Alvarez added a sacrifice fly and Walker an RBI single to give the Pirates 10 runs in a game for the first time since July 3, 2011.
Bedard (3-5) allowed two hits. He had four walks and three strikeouts.
After allowing five runs over a stretch of four starts, Garza has been tagged for a total of 13 over eight innings in his past two outings. He was charged with six runs (five earned) on seven hits, a walk and six strikeouts Sunday.
NOTES: The Cubs completed an 0-6 roadtrip during which they were not out-hit in a game until Sunday. … Pirates OF Jose Tabata was 2 for 3 before being removed from the game in the sixth inning due to discomfort and cramping in his left leg. He was to be further evaluated later Sunday and Monday. … Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that either RHP Shawn Camp or LHP Jeff Russell would work in closing situations. Dolis has been scored on in each of his past five outings. … Chicago returns home for a three-game series against San Diego in a matchup of the NL’s two worst teams. … Pittsburgh continues a nine-game in which it is 4-2 when it faces NL Central-leading Cincinnati Monday. The Reds start former Pirates player Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 3.22) in the series opener.
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