Pittsburgh, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Mike Olt smacked his first Major League home run while Jason Hammel pitched 6 2/3 strong frames as the Chicago Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-2, Thursday at PNC Park.
Hammel, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal in February, held the Pirates to two hits, striking out five as the Cubs (1-2) gave Rick Renteria his first managerial victory.
Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save, Olt finished with two RBIs while Emilio Bonifacio had two hits and two runs for the Cubs.
Wandy Rodriguez absorbed the loss after giving up three runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in six frames for the Pirates, who slipped to 2-1.
In the first, Bonifacio led off with a single — his 10th hit in his 13th at-bat and stole second. Two outs later, he scored on Anthony Rizzo’s single, the first time the Cubs had a lead this season.
Olt, who hoped to continue his spring comeback story this season, made it 2-0 with a leadoff home run in the second off Rodriguez, hitting an opposite-field shot to right for his first big league homer.
Bonifacio doubled to open the third for hit No. 11 of the season, and scored one batter later when Justin Ruggiano grounded into a double play.
With two outs in the seventh, Hammel walked Neil Walker and was lifted. Pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez doubled off James Russell, and Tony Sanchez singled to drive in both runners and cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Cubs head to Chicago for their home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field.
“It’s not so much the eagerness to get there, but the season is moving forward and it’s going to be nice to be in our home ballpark,” Renteria said. “It’s going to be an exciting moment for all of us. Like I’ve said, it’s still baseball.”