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Pirates hold on to defeat Cubs

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Out of 89 pitches Vance Worley threw on Saturday night, there's only one he might want back.

An errant curve ball to Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo resulted in a two-run home run in the fourth inning. But otherwise the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander was spot on in 6 2/3 innings of work in a 5-3 victory.

"It was very efficient again, the number of pitches and the outs he was able to get," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said "(He had) a lot of first pitch strikes. ... He found the strike zone and gave us a really good effort."

Worley (1-0) picked up his first Pirates win in his second start since he was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis last Sunday. He gave up three runs, struck out four and walked one.

"I was just staying down in the zone," said Worley. "Today the zone was very low and I wasn't trying to overpower the ball at all. As the game was getting going, I was elevating a little more."

Shortstop Jordy Mercer and third baseman Josh Harrison each homered while center fielder Andrew McCutchen delivered an RBI single in the fifth for a go-ahead run.

Saturday's start was the second for Worley (1-0). Right-handed closer Mark Melancon struck out the side in the ninth for his 11th save.

Cubs left-hander Travis Wood (7-6) worked 4 2/3 innings and took the loss.

Harrison was 2-for-4 with three RBIs while Mercer went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Rizzo was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in the fourth.

Saturday's game was delayed for two hours and 14 minutes as severe weather moved through the Chicago area.

Mercer broke a scoreless tie to lead off the third, launching Wood's 1-2 pitch to left for his sixth home run and a 1-0 lead.

The Cubs claimed a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Rizzo's 15th home run. Worley hadn't allowed any baserunners until left fielder Chris Coghlan singled to open the inning. Rizzo brought him home with the homer to right field on a 1-1 pitch with one out.

The Pirates reclaimed the lead in the fifth as Harrison singled home Mercer with two out. McCutchen delivered an RBI base hit to shallow center to score right fielder Gregory Polanco for a 3-2 edge.

That was it for Wood, who was replaced by right-handed reliever Brian Schlitter. Wood gave up three earned runs on four hits. He struck out four, walked three and threw 99 pitches.

"He had to work through some traffic and his pitch count started getting up there," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. "But he was moving the ball pretty good and tried navigating through it and wasn't able to get out of it."

Polanco legged out a single with two out in the seventh and -- aided by a successful replay challenge -- extended his hitting streak to start his major league career to 11 games.

Harrison then lined a home run to right that scored Polanco to give Pittsburgh a 5-2 lead.

"(The replay) turned out to play very big for us," Hurdle said. "And Josh Harrison had another solid night. He rolled his ankle after his second at-bat and was able to stay in the game and drive in three runs in a five-run game."

In the seventh, Cubs catcher Eli Whiteside doubled home second baseman Darwin Barney with two outs, cutting the Pirates' lead to 5-3.

Worley departed at that point for right-hander Jared Hughes, who got the inning's final out.

NOTES: Pirates LF Gregory Polanco extended his current hitting streak to 11 games. He's the fifth Pirates player to put together streaks of 10 or more games this season, joining OF Andrew McCutchen (12), INF Neil Walker (11), OF Starling Marte (10) and 3B Josh Harrison (10). ... Marte has hits in 10 of his last 11 games, with a .380 average in that span. ... Since May 1, the Pirates have led the majors in hits (463), on-base percentage (.356) while scoring 51 runs. ... RHP Mark Melancon, the newly designated closer, has a 1.55 ERA (104 1/3 innings) since the beginning of last season. ... The Pirates send RHP Brandon Cumpton (2-2, 5.28 ERA) against Cubs RHP Jason Hammel (6-4, 3.02 ERA) in Sunday's 1:20 p.m. series finale. ... SS Starlin Castro's 11th home run of the season on Friday surpassed his 161-game total of 10 from 2013.
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