EditorsNote: Numerous factual changes throughout
Ben Zobrist, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber homered and Jason Heyward had three hits Tuesday as the visiting Chicago Cubs topped the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-6.
The Cubs, who took the lead for good with three runs in the seventh off reliever Edgar Santanta (2-1), will go for a series sweep Wednesday.
The Pirates blew an early three-run lead. Despite scoring two in the ninth on Starling Marte’s single, they have lost four straight and nine of 11.
Chicago’s Jon Lester (5-2) wasn’t as strong as he had been lately — he had allowed five runs total over his previous five starts. He gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, with six strikeouts and no walks.
Closer Brandon Morrow recorded his 12th save.
Pirates rookie Nick Kingham, making his fourth major league start, allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, with four strikeouts and two walks.
Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead in the first. After Austin Meadows doubled on a ball center fielder Ian Happ misjudged, Marte knocked him in with a double to left. Josh Bell followed with an RBI single.
Elias Diaz extended the lead to 3-0 with his third homer on Lester’s first pitch in the second.
Chicago cut into the lead in the fifth. Lester hit a one-out single before Zobrist hit his third homer, to right, to make it 3-2.
Meadows hit his fourth homer, a full-count, leadoff shot to right-center, in the bottom of the fifth to restore the Pirates’ two-run lead, 4-2.
In the sixth, Heyward hit a two-out double and scored on Lester’s single to right to make it 4-3. It was Lester’s second career two-hit game.
Rizzo hit a one-out homer, his eighth, in the seventh for a 4-4 tie. Willson Contreras singled and raced home on Happ’s double for a 5-4 lead. An out later, Happ scored on Heyward’s single to make it 6-4.
Schwarber’s two-run homer, his 10th, off Michael Feliz made it 8-4 in the eighth.
—Field Level Media