CHICAGO -- Justin Wilson called it a bad pitch. Clint Hurdle called it a "Wrigley Field home run."
Either way you term it, it will show up as a loss.
Cody Ransom hit a three-run home run off Wilson in the seventh inning to help the Cubs avoid a sweep and beat the Pirates, 4-1, Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Wilson left a 96-mph fastball over the plate and Ransom, the Cubs' third baseman, delivered it to the first row of the bleachers in left field.
It was the first career loss for Wilson, who entered the game 5-0 with five earned runs in 35 innings this season. He allowed three earned runs on four hits in 11/3 innings Sunday.
"I just couldn't make a better pitch there," Wilson said. "A good job of hitting. I didn't get it far enough in there. He got the barrel to it, it got up in the jet stream and the ball went out."
Pirates starter Jeff Locke allowed one earned run on one hit in 52/3 innings, a lack of command driving up his pitch count and allowing the Cubs to dot the bases for most of the game.
Locke struck out six, but walked a career-high seven and threw 48 of his 100 pitches for balls.
"Hell," Locke said. "That's a lot of walks."
He did not allow a hit until the bottom of the sixth, when Dioner Navarro hit a line drive to left field. But by that point, Locke had already allowed one earned run because of his command issues.
"I didn't even really know I didn't give up any hits because there was someone on base every inning, or multiple people, so I was pitching from the stretch every time," he said.
Locke walked Ransom to lead off the sixth, and Ransom moved from first to third on a strange play. The Pirates (37-26) had a shift on for left-handed hitter Anthony Rizzo, who hit a grounder to the right side of the infield. Second baseman Neil Walker fielded the ball and sprinted to first to beat Rizzo.
But with nobody covering third base, Ransom rounded second and kept on running. By the time Walker noticed, it was too late to get Ransom at third.
Ransom scored two batters later when Scott Hairston hit a sacrifice fly to center field, tying the score, 1-1.
Locke left the game after Navarro's single, which came on Locke's 100th pitch.
"The rhythm in repeating his delivery wasn't where it needs to be," Hurdle said. "He kept his mound composure and he continued to compete. But he pitched out of the stretch all day, and with runners in scoring position. It was a challenge from the beginning to the end."
One day after pounding the Cubs (25-35) and usual antagonist Jeff Samardzija, the Pirates struggled to mount much of anything against Edwin Jackson, who entered with a 1-8 record and pitched poorly against the Pirates earlier this season.
Jackson allowed one earned run on four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking one. In his previous outing against the Pirates, Jackson was chased after allowing four earned runs on six hits in three innings.
"That's the kind of outing they've been looking for from him probably for most of the season," Hurdle said.
The Pirates helped Jackson's effort by chasing a lot of pitches out of the strike zone, often putting themselves in bad hitter's counts.
Andrew McCutchen scored the game's first run in the fourth. After leading off the inning with a double that bounced on the warning track in left field, McCutchen hustled home when Garrett Jones hit a single to center field, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Locke's command got him in trouble in the third, but his poise bailed him out. After issuing two two-out walks to put runners on first and second and bring Alfonso Soriano to the plate, Locke picked off Ransom at second base to end the inning. Ransom took off his helmet and threw it toward the Cubs dugout in disgust.
The Pirates got a break in the third, when umpire Angel Hernandez gave them an extra out by ruling Starling Marte safe at first base when replay showed him out by a little less than half a step. The two-out single by Marte put runners on first and third with Travis Snider at the plate, and Marte stole second to put even more pressure on Jackson.
But the Pirates couldn't capitalize. Snider flied out to left to end the inning and render Hernandez's blunder moot.
Michael Sanserino: email@example.com, 412-263-1722 and Twitter @msanserino. First Published June 9, 2013 9:30 PM