Late rally propels Pirates past Cubs


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CHICAGO -- The Pirates scored five runs in the eighth inning to run away from the Cubs in an 8-4 victory this afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Michael McKenry pounded a three-run homer in the eighth, his 10th home run of the season, as the Pirates turned a one-run advantage into a 7-1 lead.

Since June 25, when starting catcher Rod Barajas sustained a bone bruise to his left knee, McKenry is hitting .381 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in 20 games.

The Pirates had seven consecutive hits in the eighth inning as they padded a lead that stood at one run since the third inning.

Closer Joel Hanrahan was battered in a non-save situation, allowing four consecutive hits to start the ninth inning. He surrendered three runs and five hits in the inning before striking out the side.

Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 3 and scored three runs, and Garrett Jones went 2 for 2 with a run and three RBIs.

Jeff Karstens lasted five innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He earned his fourth win of the season. After losing his first two decisions of the season, Karstens has won four in a row.

Cubs starter Travis Wood took the loss, allowing two earned runs on three hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out six, but one misstep on the mound gave the Pirates a lead they would not relinquish.

Wood balked in the third inning, allowing Andrew McCutchen to score and give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Wood stood with his foot on the rubber, waiting for a sign from catcher Welington Castillo, when he flinched -- an illegal move that allowed McCutchen and Travis Snider to advance.

It was the fifth run the Pirates have scored this road trip -- now seven games old -- without putting the ball in play. The Cubs walked home a run Monday, and the Astros had a pair of wild pitches and a passed ball that allowed Pirates to score.

Pirates rookie Starling Marte tied the score earlier in the inning with a leadoff home run, the second of his career. He smacked a 1-1 fastball from Wood and dropped it onto the basket in left field.

The Cubs took an early lead when Starlin Castro pounded his 11th home run of the season and second of the series. He connected with a 1-1 slider, sending it about five rows deep in the left-centerfield bleachers as the Cubs went up, 1-0.

It was only the third game in 10 starts this season in which Karstens has allowed a home run. homepage - breaking - pirates

Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino. First Published August 1, 2012 9:45 PM


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