CHICAGO (AP) — David Freese and Francisco Cervelli each drove in two runs to back Gerrit Cole, and the Pittsburgh Pirates held off the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, on Friday to end a four-game skid.
The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning before Tony Watson got Ben Zobrist on a grounder for his third save.
After going 4-14 against the Cubs last year, Pittsburgh started out well against the World Series champions.
Cole (1-1) allowed two runs in six innings, striking out five. He outpitched Kyle Hendricks (1-1), who surrendered three runs in 5 1-3 innings after allowing just one run during three wins against Pittsburgh last year
Freese doubled twice and scored two runs. The 33-year-old third baseman has reached base safely in 12 of his last 15 plate appearances.
The Pirates trailed 2-1 in the sixth when Freese hit a tying single and Cervelli had a two-run double.
Kyle Schwarber and Zobrist each had RBI singles, but the Cubs failed to score late.
Pinch hitter Willson Contreras grounded out with the bases loaded to end the eighth.
Watson retired the first two batters in the ninth before a walk, an error by Freese at third base and a hit batter loaded the bases. Zobrist grounded out to shortstop to finish it.
Cubs: RHP Hector Rondon returned to action with a scoreless inning after injuring his knee in Wednesday’s loss to Los Angeles. … Activated LHP Brian Duensing off of the 10-day disabled list and placed RHP Carl Edwards Jr. on the bereavement list Friday. Duensing, 34, experienced lower back tightness during spring training and made two rehab outings for Triple-A Iowa, throwing three scoreless innings.
Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 27.00 ERA) makes his first career appearance against the Cubs. The 23-year-old failed to escape the second inning in his season debut Monday against Cincinnati.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.08) owns a career 2.20 ERA in 49 starts at Wrigley Field, but faces a Pirates lineup that has tagged the former Cy Young winner for at least six runs in each of their last three meetings.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.