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Cubs blast off on Charlie Morton in Pirates' 6-3 loss

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Brian Kersey

The Cubs scored five runs off Charlie Morton in the third inning while cruising to a 6-3 victory over the Pirates Friday afternoon.

The five third-inning runs came in five straight plate appearances. With one out, Edwin Jackson and Luis Valbuena singled, and Chris Coghlan followed with a walk to load the bases. Anthony Rizzo then brought two runs home with a double to right, and Starlin Castro brought home three more with a homer to left on an 0-2 curveball.

The Pirates scored all three of their runs in the fifth, as Josh Harrison and Pedro Alvarez walked and Jordy Mercer homered to left. But the Cubs got one back on Coghlan's solo homer in the bottom half of the inning. Jackson exited with eight strikeouts, most of them coming on sliders.

Morton went six innings and struck out six, mostly pitching fairly well outside of that disastrous fifth inning. He didn't get some calls, especially on inside strikes, but he made some mistake pitches, including on Coghlan's triple in the first and on Castro's homer.

Jason Grilli, appearing as a non-closer, entered in the eighth inning and looked a bit better, striking out the first two batters he faced before giving up a walk and a single. He got Valbuena to hit a weak fly ball to end the threat.