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Pirates 2, Cubs 0

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Russell Martin doubled in one run and scored another as the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon.

Martin, who went 2-for-3 and reached base three times, doubled home shortstop Jordy Mercer with two out off Cubs starter Travis Wood.

Mercer, who also had two hits on the day, reached on a one-out doube and advanced to third on A.J. McCutcheon's flyball to right.

Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano (4-2) allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings but walked five and had to work out of occasional trouble.

He also struck out eight and broke a personal two-game losing streak in the opener of the three-game series at Wrigley Field.

Wood (5-4) pitched six full innings and gave up one earned run on four hits. He walked two and struck out six.

Pittsburgh added a ninth-inning insurance run as Cubs reliever Carlos Villanueva walked Martin and gave up a single to Pedro Alvarez with none out. Martin, who advanced to third on the hit, came home on Travis Snider's fielder's choice grounder to short.

Pirates reliever Jason Grilli gave up back-to-back singles with two out in the ninth, but struck out Darwin Barney to end the game and earn his 23rd save.

Temperatures hovered in the mid-50s, and the wind blew in from the north, preventing many balls from sailing deep.

Wood gave up two singles and walked Snider to load the bases in the second. But he worked out of the inning unscathed by striking out Liriano for the final out.

The Cubs had Welington Castillo in scoring position with two out in the second after Liriano issued back-to-back walks, but Ryan Sweeney's fly to center ended the threat.

Anthony Rizzo reached second on a fourth-inning walk and an Alfonso Soriano flyball to center. But he got no further as Liriano struck out Castillo and got Starlin Castro to line out to second baseman Neil Walker.

Liriano gave up his first hit in the fifth when Wood lined a single to left, and Cody Ransom then walked with two out. The runners advanced on a wild pitch and were stranded when Rizzo struck out looking.

The Pirates send right-hander A.J. Burnett (3-6, 3.22 ERA) against Cubs righty Jeff Samardzija (3-6, 2.96 ERA) in Saturday's middle game.

NOTES: Cubs manager Dale Sveum said his team got the best non-pitcher in Thursday's Major League Draft with the selection of third baseman Kris Bryant out of the University of San Diego. "We got the best hitter in the draft, an athlete (who can) run, throw and obviously we know about his power," Sveum said. ... Friday's game was the first in a seven-game N.L. Central home stand that includes four games next week with Cincinnati. ... Barney was in the leadoff spot for only the second time this season in place of David DeJesus, who had the day off. ... The June 7 meeting is the second-latest calendar day the Pirates have been to Wrigley Field since 2000. Last year, the teams didn't meet in Chicago until July 30. ... Third baseman Pedro Alvarez has five home runs in 20 days games so far. In 2012 he had 18 daytime homers, the most by a Pirate player since Willie Stargell (19) in 1971. ... Right-hander Bryan Morris had a no-hitter of sorts under way with 9.0 hitless innings through his last five appearances dating back to May 29.
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