Rookie Alexander Canario hit a grand slam for his first major league home run in an eight-run eighth inning, and the Chicago Cubs ended a five-game losing streak with a 14-1 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Cody Bellinger hit a three-run homer later in the eighth for the Cubs, who remained a half-game ahead of Miami for the final NL wild card, with Cincinnati one game behind Chicago.
Canario, a 23-year-old who debuted on Sept. 6, had five RBIs. He hit an RBI double in the sixth for his first big league hit and drove a hanging slider from into the left-field bleachers for a 10-1 lead against Kyle Nicolas. Chicago teammate Christopher Morel was so filled with emotion he pulled off his own jersey in the Cubs dugout.
Nicolas, a 24-year-old right-hander, gave up six runs while getting one out in his debut for a 162.00 career ERA.
In a game that started after a 1-hour, 25-minute rain delay, Javier Assad (4-3) allowed one run and five hits in five innings with eight strikeouts. Drew Smyly, José Cuas, Mark Leiter, Jr. and Luke Little finished a five-hitter.
Pirates batters struck out 16 times, one shy of their season high.
Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a solo homer for Pittsburgh (70-81), which was assured its eighth consecutive season without a winning record.
Pittsburgh selected the contract of RHP Kyle Nicolas from Triple-A Indianapolis before the game and optioned RHP Thomas Hatch.
Pirates: DH/OF Andrew McCutchen (partially torn left Achilles) was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
Cubs: INF Nick Madrigal was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Sunday with a right hamstring strain, and INF Jared Young was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Madrigal missed most of July with a similar injury. … RHP Adbert Alzolay (right forearm strain) played long-toss on Tuesday. … RHP’s Brandon Hughes (right knee inflammation) and Nick Burdi (appendectomy) were set to continue rehab assignments at Triple-A Iowa.
All-Star LHP Justin Steele (16-4) starts for the Cubs on Wednesday. He allowed six runs in seven innings in a 6-4 loss at Arizona on Friday.