The Pirates turned in an ugly performance, their second straight clunker in Chicago, falling to the Cubs, 6-2.
All six Cubs runs came with two outs. While that was a bit of bad luck for Jeff Locke, he was also hit hard, allowing eight hits in 3 2-3 innings. The Cubs were also 5-for-7 in stolen-base attempts, including two separate double-steals in the fourth.
The Pirates failed to draw a walk for the second straight game, while striking out 11 times. Starling Marte's two-run home run in the fourth inning was one of few bright spots.
Starlin Castro reached first on an overturned call to open the second inning. Addison Russell's double and Dexter Fowler's single gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead. A Josh Harrison throwing error extended the bottom of the third inning, and Junior Lake capitalized on it with a double to extend that lead to 4-0.
Marte's shot into the "basket" over the left-field wall cut the Bucs' deficit to just 4-2 through 3 1/2 innings, but whatever optimism that brought was quickly lost in the bottom of the fourth. Locke gave the Cubs too many chances again, getting knocked out after Kris Bryant's single put the Cubs up 5-2. Antonio Bastardo came in and allowed one more run on another Castro single.
Radhames Liz struggled with his control, but ate three innings, and Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless eighth.
The Pirates looked like they had something going in the sixth. Corey Hart doubled with two outs, and the Pirates were set to have runners on the corners when Marte followed with a single. Hart, though, saw third-base coach Rick Sofield's stop sign a little too late, rounding third aggressively, and Bryant cut off the throw and chased him down.
Marte was the only Pirate with multiple hits -- he went 2-for-4. The team managed just five hits on the night. Cubs lefty Travis Wood struck out nine in seven innings.