Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – Pedro Alvarez and Travis Snider homered as the Pittsburgh Pirates scored five runs in the seventh inning en route to a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs Thursday at Wrigley Field.
After Snider’s two-run blast, Alvarez blasted a three-run shot against James Russell (0-1) to put the Pirates ahead.
Closer Jason Grilli loaded the bases in the ninth but forced Emilio Bonifacio to ground out to first as the Pirates (6-3) opened the season with three straight series win for the first time in 22 years.
The Pirates have taken two series against the Cubs and one against St. Louis. This marked only the fourth time in the last 49 seasons they have won their first three.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole (2-0) picked up his sixth straight win dating back to last season after striking out 10 in six innings. He gave up four runs — three earned — on five hits and two walks.
Travis Wood pitched six strong innings, giving up a run on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts for the Cubs, who dropped to 3-6.
Starlin Castro had three hits, including an RBI single, and scored a run on a controversial play at the plate that gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning.
Meanwhile, Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta struck out four and gave up three hits over 3 2/3 scoreless innings in his second rehab start for Double-A Tennessee Thursday. He threw 66 pitches, 40 for strikes, against Chattanooga.
Arrieta was slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. There is no timetable for Arrieta’s return.