Tim Brown:

Cubs 4, Pirates 1

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Alfonso Soriano hit a pair of two-run homers to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 4-1 win over the National League Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.

Soriano, the subject of trade speculation before the July 31 deadline, homered off Charlie Morton (1-2) in the fourth and fifth innings for the Cubs, who posted just their 12th win against an NL Central opponent this season. Soriano has homered five times in his last eight games.

Pedro Alvarez, one of four Pirates named to the All-Star team, homered in the fourth for the Pirates, who lost for the third time in their last 14 games and missed their third chance to go a season-high 22 games above .500. The loss also cost them a chance at eight straight victories away from Pittsburgh for the first time since September 1987.

Edwin Jackson picked up the win for the Cubs, pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowing one run and four hits while striking out three. After signing a four-year, $52 million free-agent contract in the offseason, Jackson (5-10) lost his first five decisions but has won two straight for Chicago.

Jackson left with two outs in the sixth after allowing an Andrew McCutchen single and walking Garrett Jones. James Russell replaced him and struck out Alvarez to end the threat.

Matt Guerrier pitched two perfect innings in relief before Kevin Gregg saved his 15th game in 16 tries.

In his longest start this season, Morton allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.

During the game, the Pirates' Jason Grilli, McCutchen, Alvarez and Jeff Locke were named to the all-star team, the first time since 1981 that Pittsburgh had four players selected. And Alvarez staked the Pirates to another lead.

Alvarez's 22nd home run gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead with two outs in the fourth. On a 1-0 pitch, Alvarez lined a Jackson delivery into the first row of the left-field bleachers to pull within one of Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez for the National League lead.

The Cubs, though, got to Morton in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs. After Anthony Rizzo doubled off the left-field wall to lead off the inning, Soriano hit a 0-1 pitch into the first row of the bleachers in deep left field.

Chicago took a 4-1 lead with two outs in the fifth when Soriano took a 1-0 pitch from Morton and hit it well into the bleachers in left for his second two-run homer in two innings. Soriano's homer was his 12th of the season and the 384rd of his career, moving him into a tie with Harold Baines for 59th all time.

It also gave him 32 multi-homer games in his career and his second of the season.

Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was replaced in the bottom of the fifth by Brandon Inge. The Pirates said Walker was suffering from discomfort in his right side and would be evaluated.

NOTES: Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville brought the Stanley Cup to Wrigley Field and threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. ... A.J. Burnett (4-6, 3.12 ERA) will come off the disabled list on Sunday to face Carlos Villanueva (2-4, 3.59). Burnett hasn't started since June 8, and Villanueva is starting for the first time since May 14. Pittsburgh is expected to announce a corresponding roster move on Sunday. ... Travis Wood was the lone Cubs player named to the National League All-Star team. ... Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said he saw Friday's abbreviated interview between his father, Clinton, and Pirates TV announcer Robby Incmikoski that was interrupted by a Wrigley Field usher and has spread around the Internet. ... Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said top prospect Javier Baez, promoted Friday to Double-A Tennessee, is about a month ahead of his development plan but that it's unlikely the shortstop would reach the major leagues this season. Hoyer also was optimistic the team would sign first-round pick Kris Bryant before the July 12 deadline.

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