Pirates 6, Cubs 2

Brian Sandalow, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


CHICAGO -- Francisco Liriano threw his second career complete game and Andrew McCutchen stole home to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-2 win Friday over the Chicago Cubs.
After allowing a two-run home run to Scott Hairston in the second, Liriano (8-3) shut down the Cubs the rest of way, giving up four hits and striking out seven in his first complete game since no-hitting the White Sox on May 3, 2011. Liriano also had an RBI single and improved to 3-0 against the Cubs this season.
The Pirates, whose three-run third was capped by McCutchen's steal of home, went to a season-high 21 games above .500 for the third time. They also became the first team to win 25 games against its division, improving to 25-13 when facing National League Central opponents.
Despite getting any run support for the first time since Opening Day against Pittsburgh, Jeff Samardzija was unable to win his third straight decision. In six innings, Samardzija (5-8) walked a season-high five and matched a season high by allowing five runs while surrendering nine hits.
Chicago's struggles within the division also continued. While the Cubs are 25-22 against the rest of baseball, they're 11-26 when facing the Central, good for the lowest winning percentage (.298) of any team against their division.
Liriano, who came into Friday with one hit, put the surging Pirates ahead early of a Cubs team that has scored two runs in two games.
Liriano's two-out single to left in the second gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead, driving in Russell Martin. Liriano, who entered the game hitting .059, looped a Samardzija pitch to left to bring in Martin, who scored before Jordy Mercer was tagged out at third after Cody Ransom cut off Alfonso Soriano's throw.
Liriano's RBI was his third of his career and first since May 22, 2011.
The Cubs took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning on Hairston's two-run home run, his seventh of the year. Hairston's homer, a towering drive into the left-field bleachers, brought in Ransom after he walked to lead off the inning.
Hairston's homer gave the Cubs their first runs off Liriano this season. The Pirates starter had held the Cubs scoreless in 15 1-3 innings.
Pittsburgh answered with three runs in the third to take a 4-2 lead.
Neil Walker had an RBI triple to tie the game, Garrett Jones singled to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. And on a Martin strikeout for the second out, Dioner Navarro threw to second unsuccessfully to get Jones, with McCutchen scoring on a double steal for the inning's final run.
McCutchen's steal of home on a double steal was Pittsburgh's first since Ryan Doumit on June 17, 2005, at Boston.
The Pirates scored again in the fifth on Jose Tabata's two-out infield single when he beat a Starlin Castro throw from deep short, bringing in Jones for a 5-2 lead.
NOTES: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said A.J. Burnett, on the disabled list since June 13 with a right-calf strain, will come off the disabled list and start Sunday. Burnett is 7-2 with a 3.08 ERA lifetime against the Cubs, and is 5-0 with a 2.91 ERA at Wrigley Field. ... Cubs OF David DeJesus, on the DL since June 15 with a sprained right shoulder, hit off a tee but manager Dale Sveum said there's no timetable for his return. ... Hurdle said both closer Jason Grilli and reliever Mark Melancon are both "absolutely" deserving of spots in the All-Star Game, while saying Pedro Alvarez, McCutchen, Starling Marte and Jeff Locke should also be considered. Sveum called SP Travis Wood "our all-star." The All-Star teams will be released Saturday. ... When asked about Yasiel Puig's All-Star candidacy, Hurdle said baseball is always looking to "put out its gemstones" and that his chances are "a conversation that needs to be had." ... Charlie Morton (1-1, 2.50) will start for Pittsburgh on Saturday against Chicago's Edwin Jackson (4-10, 5.75).