Jason Grilli Gives Up Game-Winning Homer As Cubs Sweep Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 9: Alfonso Soriano #12 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 9, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Jason Grilli took the loss for the second straight game as the Cubs swept the Pirates, beating them 4-2.

The Bucs took an early lead when Andrew McCutchen blasted a solo homer to left in the first. But Jeff Locke coughed up that lead in the fourth when he threw a waist-high fastball to Josh Vitters, who homered to left, and then a knee-high fastball to someone named Anthony Recker, who blasted it to center. It really was a pretty decent outing for Locke overall -- he struck out six and walked none, and only allowed those two runs -- but as with his last start against Houston, when he allowed a three-run blast to Brett Wallace, his tendency to throw meatballs at times ended up hurting him.

Anyway, the Pirates tied the game in the seventh, when Brock Holt hit a leadoff triple and came home on a balk. But Grilli arrived in the eighth and promptly allowed a single to Anthony Rizzo, then a home run on a 93-MPH fastball to Alfonso Soriano. The Pirates loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against the erratic Carlos Marmol, but Gaby Sanchez struck out and Pedro Alvarez flied out to end it.

Beyond Holt, who had three hits, and McCutchen, the Pirates' offense didn't do a whole lot, but it's also pretty hard to win in PNC when you allow three homers.

The Pirates' slow slide back to .500 continued, and they're now only 72-67. Their winning season is clearly in jeopardy, and they'll have to turn on the jets to get there. Amazingly, they're still just two games back in the playoff race.

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