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Jeff Locke dominates, Pirates win fourth in a row

Justin K. Aller

Well, what do you know? Jeff Locke was great, like June great, tonight, and he helped the Pirates to their fourth straight win.

Locke struck out five, walked one and allowed three hits over seven innings. The Cubs got one in the third when Darnell McDonald led off with a double and came home on a Starlin Castro single a few batters later.

But the Pirates quickly took the lead with RBI singles by Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez in the fourth, and Locke didn't look back, ending his start by retiring the last 10 batters he faced. (Locke got some help from Andrew McCutchen with a tremendous diving catch in the seventh.) Locke got the Cubs to swing at tons of pitches that were either low in the strike zone or low and out of the strike zone, so he was really playing his game.

"It was just better stuff," Clint Hurdle said. "I think he was able to stabilize himself the last time out."

The Bucs picked up an insurance run on Jordy Mercer's double in the eighth, and Mark Melancon got the save.

The Cardinals lost, so the Bucs moved back into a tie for first place.

David Manel contributed to this post.